Geeky Londoners Will Love This Instagram Account

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 49 months ago
Geeky Londoners Will Love This Instagram Account
All images courtesy of @londonstreetnameplates

We've got a new favourite Instagram account, and it's full of delicious London geekiness.

Run by Alistair Hall, @londonstreetnameplates documents London's unusual (yep, you guessed it) street nameplates. Alistair said:

I’m documenting all different types of street nameplate. The ones from the old Metropolitan Boroughs are all rather wonderful, as are the ones from the postal districts that no longer exist. The older the sign, the rarer it is, so I’m trying to focus on those, but I’m also collecting examples of recent signs.

Alistair has also published a book about the signs. He's been using various libraries and archives to research as he goes along, and the Instagram account is a way of chronicling the research for the book.

Some of the signs featured on the account are very familiar:

Others are highly unusual (no sign? No problem - just carve the street name into the kerb):

And while many of them are archaically quaint, some are new additions to London's streets:

Alistair said:

Westminster had some trouble with its apostrophes. This post shows how they fixed that in one instance. Interestingly, even though Westminster have copyrighted their nameplate design, many of their recent signs are set in the wrong typeface – they should be set in a bespoke alphabet designed for them by the design studio Design Research Unit in 1967, but a lot of their recent signs use Helvetica Condensed Bold. This is the sort of stuff that keeps graphic designers awake at night.

We won't lie — Alistair knows a lot more about London's street signs than we do. He's still learning though — he searches for the unusual signs online (Flickr, he tells us, has been invaluable), before doing a reccy on Google Street View to check the sign is still in situ. Only then does he go out and about with his camera, snapping away at the immortalised monikers.

You can find more about the project in this blogpost.  Like what you see? Give the project a follow on Instagram (while you're there, give us a follow too).

Last Updated 30 March 2020