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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Permanently Interesting

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas MARCH. 16, 2021


[227-365] 16th. March 2021- Bacon baguette time this morning and while waiting for the rare morsel to be prepared we browsed the collection of old time worn enamel signs in the cafe's collection, scattered around their semi outdoor canopy Covid collection zone.

We'd been for a long walk and the weather has warmed up quite a bit so when we had to mask up to collect our salty pig snack we steamed up. So I grabbed a quick snap of this one which looked interesting and was worth a bit of further investigation, before I went back outside to demask and get a quick breath of fresh air.

The first thing I noticed about this sign was the fact that the interest rate is stated in enamel on steel on a sign designed to last at least fifty years, something unheard of today. As far as the permanent goes, I hadn't realised, but this Building Society transformed into the Abbey National which was my first Building Society account. That firm later privatised and made a cash pay-out to each member and later merged or was more properly rescued by Santander. So although the name wasn't permanent, in one sense it can still claim to be so, in some form.

Interestingly a single share at £25 would cost at today's prices £2891.

Building societies as an institution began in late-18th century Birmingham - Many of the early building societies were based in taverns or coffeehouses, which had become the focus for a network of clubs and societies for co-operation and the exchange of ideas among Birmingham's highly active citizenry as part of the movement known as the Midlands Enlightenment. The first building society to be established was Ketley's Building Society, founded by Richard Ketley, the landlord of the Golden Cross inn, in 1775.

A building society is a financial institution owned by its members as a mutual organization. Building societies exist in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. The purpose of a building society is to provide home mortgages to members.

If you are wondering about the name Abbey Road then yes it is the same Abbey Road of Beatles fame.

EMI's Abbey Road Studios is located at the south eastern end, at 3 Abbey Road, St John's Wood. The Beatles, Brockhampton, and many other famous popular music performers, have recorded at this studio, and the Beatles named their last studio LP after this street. The album's cover photograph, shows the four group members walking across the zebra crossing, just outside the studio entrance.

As a result of its association with the Beatles, since 1969, this part of Abbey Road has been featured on the London tourism circuit. The crossing was given status of Grade II Listed Building, by English Heritage, in December 2010. The zebra crossing, featured on the Beatles cover, has become a popular photo opportunity area, despite the road still being the busy thoroughfare for traffic.

There have been stories about the zebra crossing, having been shifted from its original location, but these are ungrounded myths, based on the storm water drain, located on the north eastern corner of the crossing, which has been there since the establishment of the sewer system, in the City of Westminster.

Abbey Road (street sign) The album cover of the Beatles has been parodied many times over the years. The street sign, on the corner of Grove End Road and Abbey Road, is now mounted high, on the building on the corner, to save the local council the expense of cleaning and replacing the sign, which was frequently defaced, or stolen. The council repaints the wall next to the zebra crossing every three months, to cover fans’ occasional graffiti.


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