Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Poole, Dorset

Carter’s Cavalcade (3): Not just seed potatoes

The third (and final, for now) highlight from my visit to Poole is this panel, one of a pair, that originally came from the shop of W H Yeatman & Sons, corn and seed merchants. Yeatman’s, whose former corn mill I’d noticed when I was walking along Poole Quay earlier in the day, had a shop in the town’s High Street. These colourful tile panels decorated the shop from the late-1920s or early-1930s: clearly the owners wanted to remind people they sold more than produce for the farm or vegetable patch. The black background helps the vivid flowers stand out beautifully (there is probably Art Deco influence in this use of black), and the colours are contained within very narrow boundary lines. These were produced using tube-lining, a technique that involves applying wet clay from a syringe, rather in the way that someone icing a cake uses a piping bag. You can feel how the tube lines are raised above the rest of the surface if you run your finger across the tiles.

When Poole’s old town was redeveloped in the 1960s, these memorable panels were saved and mounted on the end of a building that is now an ice-cream parlour. Although sited at a road junction with plenty of pavement in front of them, they’re actually quite easy to miss, and I was grateful to have them pointed out to me by Jo, leader of the guided walk that brought them to my attention.* It’s fortunate that this bit of shop ornament, from a time when such decorations were expected to be in place for decades (unlike so many of today’s ephemeral plastic shop signs), were rescued. As well as serving a local business for years, they have now outlived their original raison d’être for even longer. Built to last: modern retailers please note.

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* Anyone wishing to take part in one of these excellent walks should follow Jo Amey on her Facebook page, The Tile Lady. The page has many pictures of beautiful tiles and she also posts information about the walks there.


Jo Amey said...

Thank you for the posts about our walk in Poole and making the fantastic tiles panels known to a wider audience. I really appreciate such positive feedback.


Philip Wilkinson said...

You're very welcome, Jo. I enjoyed the walk hugely, and liked the tiles so much I couldn't resist doing one more blog post about them.