Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Setting the Scene - Location, Location, Location

One of the things that makes creating a semi-historical diorama interesting for me is the research I get to do. In the last "installment" I was working with brick patterns, with the Flemish bond being the most common in London during the 1880-1890 period that I'm working in. During that little exploration I learned far more about brick patterns than I really intended. For instance the English bond is very common in the eastern US. Both of these brick laying patterns are designed to great a strong supporting structure. What many of us see for our urban homes in the US is the stretcher bond which is really only designed to be used as a facade rather than the base structure.

The other element to establishing the scene in London are street signs. That one certainly led me down a rabbit hole. The usage of words between the UK and the US can be quite different at times and more than a little frustrating. It was late in the day that I finally figured out that in the UK they are not street signs, they are road signs. Not only that but the placement is quite different. Instead of being part of a corner street light or on its own post at the corner road signs in London are actually attached to the buildings. I couldn't find any period photographs that included these signs, nor did they appear in any of the newspaper sketches that I ran across. However, I did finally stumble across an old blog that did quick post on road signs from 1866-1917. There were a few photograph of road signs on the site that dated from that period that are actually still in place. There's enough information that I should be able to put one together for the diorama. I just have to decide what street I want to use. I want it set in Whitechaple in 1888, I'll just have to go through the maps. I can tell you one thing, if you use the words London and 1888 you will find a plethora of Jack the Ripper websites.

So this particular sign has the right "look" but its not from the right time period. You can tell because of the E.1. at the end which indicates it dates not earlier than about 1917 when the postal code for the distract was changed. You can also see the brick pattern in this photo quite nicely. This is a Flemish Bond.

Another post 1917 road sign, and another example of Flemish Bond brickwork.

This road sign is in the right style for the 1880 period with just an E. at the instead of the more modern E.1. The sign could have gone up as early as 1866. The brickwork here looks closer to a English Bond rather than a Flemish Bond.

Another 1866-1917 period road sign. Another example of what appears to be a Flemish Bond pattern.

Another 1866-1917 era sign along with Flemish Bond pattern brickwork.

Another 1866-1917 era sign along with Flemish Bond pattern brickwork. Note that the color of the brick can help set the scene was well. Yellow brick more common than red brick in the London area. Especially in the Whitechapel area.

And one final 1866-1917 era sign. Red brick with what appears to be mostly a Flemish Bond pattern with some additional decorative work added in.

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