The panel is a slightly odd shape … perhaps it originally had some kind of border around it. C 20 09 An occasional series celebrating the humble and occasionally not so humble street sign.
Stylistically more like a car number plate than a street sign, this late 20th century example is quite elegant in its simplicity. With thanks to Gillian Kelly for friendship and additional research.
An example of a painted name on a house in Montpellier Terrace you may just be able to see in the picture that the stone has been painted with cream paint underneath the letters to give it a solid background. A more detailed history of the chapel can be found in the article about Jenner Gardensbut this V-cut hand-chiselled plaque remains one of the few of its kind in Cheltenham, and one of the earliest.
The Misses Langdon clearly made an impression on the area because a whole street was named after them in the s, Langdon Road just the other side of the Norwood Arms roundabout. This street sign is lead grey, very small, partially obscured and tucked away inside an alley, apparently noticed only by people who like to throw kebabs and curry sauce at it. A typical modern Cheltenham street sign.
The balcony above is a very nice example of early wrought-ironwork, with which Montpellier Terrace is especially well endowed. Numbers were included in a slum clearance programme in and demolished. Susanna and another schoolmistress sister, Margaret, were still living in Cheltenham in in a high class lodging house beside the Belle Vue Hotel in the High Street.
Dating street name signs is always difficult, but I would guess this slender and understated nameplate belongs to the mid or late 19th century. This plate does, however, match the one on Clarence Parade at the very top of this article. Susanna and Ann Langdon presumably her daughters were schoolmistresses and there were sixteen resident pupils, all girls, aged mostly 14 and 15, plus three female servants.
As you can see, the area was still largely unbuilt.
These cottages are in Alstone Lane, their name hand-chiselled and painted. His wife Lucy was a schoolmistress and the house was also occupied by a gaggle of governesses, three servants and eight boarding pupils, all young boys.
The unmade road in the foreground is presumably Painswick Road, with Great Norwood Street approximately corresponding to the line of trees behind the house, and a perfect uninterrupted vista towards Leckhampton Hill. Completely unrelated to Cheltenham Chapel above, this little gem is behind the Bethesda Chapel in the south part of town. In fact the lane is down the side of a humble pair of Victorian cottages on Suffolk Road which are currently end of home to a derelict launderette.
Seen here on one of the earlier Regency terraces, where it fits in nicely with the wrought-iron verandah. Another chunky Victorian job in slabserif typestyle, as seen on Corpus Street, but this time the letters are in a consistent weight.
The lettering is a fairly standard style for this period but the bar on the letter A is strangely high up. Most of these names have fallen out of use but they can still be found. Numbers 7 and 8 were uninhabited. No longer made of cast iron in this period, the letters are stamped into a softer metal. What is most striking here is that the surrounding area is completely undeveloped.
There were also carters and fly drivers, dressmakers, a few farm labourers and an unemployed nurse. See how wide the letter L is in comparison with College Lawn.
The scene is utterly unrecognisable today. The recently replaced signage at the front has brought a kind of no-nonsense dignity to what is otherwise a hideous architectural own-goal.
The census refers to it by that name and lists two dwellings there, which matches what appears on the map.
The area to the left, in front of the red wall, is where the timber yard originally was. And at least this one is metal — the recent move towards plastic nameplates has not been so good. Looking every bit as stylish on a set of railings as it does half way up a wall.
The spacing is a bit funny look at the huge T in relation to the other letters but it has character and the highly raised letters stand out from the background.
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