For my ‘culture’ gig this week my London Shoes took me to Walthamstow “E17” (the post code-not the boy band) – an area of London that I personally had the pleasure of working in during the early 1980’s and again (as a manager) in the mid 1990’s.
A short 15min train journey north from the centre of London, would take you to Walthamstow – where, at the Ravenswood Industrial Estate, you would find the quirky but amazingly unique “God’s Own Junkyard”!!!!
“God’s Own Junkyard” is simply a single unit warehouse that contains an aladdin’s cave of vintage neon lighting and signage – the largest single collection in Europe.
The driving force behind this amazing collection was artist and lighting designer Chris Bracey, who spent a 40 year career designing and manufacturing neon signs, mainly for the sex industry in London’s Soho district, and also for the film industry (his signage was made for films such as Blade Runner / Captain America / Eyes Wide Shut – to name but a few).
Although Chris Bracey passed away in 2014, this family business continues to thrive under the leadership of his son Marcus.
The “God’s Own Junkyard” unit is literally covered from floor to ceiling with restored and newly produced neon signs – and the site is regularly used by the media industry for filming and mainly photoshoots (in fact there was a photoshoot for a magazine taking place whilst I was there) – and its no wonder that the electricity bill for this place tops £700 per week !!!!!
The unit is open to the public on Fridays, Saturday & Sunday and admission is free.
I finished this little tour by necking down a customary ‘cheeky one’ in the excellent in-house “Rolling Scones” Café/Bar.
Although this was not technically a ‘culture’ gig, I feel that “God’s Own Junkyard” is most definitely a place worth visiting, and a really great entertaining way to spend a few hours – and I hope that the accompanying photos do it justice and bring the place to life for you.