Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Prices old English lavender soap, Acton

Good news! Yesterday I went to take some more photos of northwest London and, as passed by Acton, I realized that the billboard that covered the upper part of the Lavender Soap sign in Acton was now gone! (Click on the picture for an enlarged version)

Price's [or Prices]
...on [hidden by the bin shed]

Just looking at the most legible words, one can see easily that at least two ads were painted on that wall, but a close look shows there are many other letters in a whole range of typefaces.

The previously hidden part. Here one can see a large letter (a D maybe) just to the left of the "r" of "Price's". "Price's" also covers two lines written in blue/green letters (somehow, it looks a little bit like Germolene but I doubt it is. The space between the letters doesn't look quite right)

In the lower part as well several lines have been covered when the Lavender Soap sign was painted. Letters appear here and there, but nothing makes much sense.
I had always associated Old English Lavender Soap with Yardley, the soap manufacturer founded in 1770 (and incidently with my grand-parents' bathroom). Yet I can't see any trace of that particular brand name, not even on the pack of soap bars or the card that goes with is. As for Price, ever since my girlfriend first worked in a company based in Battersea riverside, it has been synonymous with candles. A quick search shows that actually Price began producing soap in 1856, using the same base product -glycerine- its candles were made of. Its soap manufacturing rights, together with the soap factory at Bromborough (near Port Sunlight) were taken by Lever Brothers Ltd in 1936.

The card reads:
Old English
Lavender Soap
Ba.. S...
P... L... B...

The six pieces of soap in the box are each wrapped in a paper saying "Old English Lavender" (that looks cheapish for Yardley). Could Price have copied Yardley's design, in particular the Gothic typeface of "Old English"?

Quite a palimpsest this wall! If anyone knows what the ads painted over were and what kind of business Mackie's was in, don't hesitate to get in touch via the comments.

Location: Birkbeck Road / All pictures taken on: 17/08/2009

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