Sunday, 18 November 2012

Bath: Forgotten Signs and Sewing Machines

The other day I thought it was about time that I had a jaunt in Archie down to Bath. We travelled along the A46 - one of my favourite routes, which winds its way through the countryside and the town of Nailsworth and the hamlet of Petty France. Jane Austen fans will recognise Petty France as the place in Northanger Abbey where its heroine Catherine Morland is driven to with the Tilney family.

I love Bath and have been visiting it since I was a child, so I'm pretty familiar with the city centre; however, I can still be surprised by finding a little bit of 'secret Bath' just by looking up at the buildings. This is one sign I spotted just a couple of streets away from the main shopping area of Milsom Street and what I call a bit of 'secret Bath':


Although its been heavily over-painted and worn away over the decades, you can just about make out the words 'Milkmaid'. After a quick search on the net I found that the sign was for 'Milkmaid' condensed milk, which is still being produced in India.

So after finding this sign by accident, I thought I'd have a look around for more and decided to walk down the length of Walcot Street, past the trendy shops into the less 'touristy' stretch of the street. This was where I found the painted sign above the shop front of 'Happy Daze' - what used to be known as a 'head shop':


What tickled my fancy was the ironic relationship between the vintage tobacconist sign and the t-shirts with weed printed on them in the shop window!

A noticeable indicator of the current economic downturn was the number of empty shops to let. I came across this former sewing machine shop with some sorry looking sewing machines displayed (left?) in the windows.



Don't they look sad? I wish now that I had pushed a note through the letterbox with my phone number offering to give them a good home!


24 comments :

  1. Love the history in your post.

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  2. This is such a beautiful post- I love Bath too!

    Janine x

    www.lesleysgirlsvintage.com

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    Replies
    1. Bath is brilliant for shopping...and eating out in too!

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  3. SNAP! About three years ago I took the exact same photos
    Old signs are fascinating all the things they use to sell which you cannot buy now because of health and safety reasons
    Julie xxxxxxxx

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  4. Meant to ask was the shop window with the machines in the one with the old vintage machines in the window in the new part of Bath City centre?
    Julie xxxxxxx

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    1. Hi Julie, they're in the old part. I know the shop you mean in the new shopping area - its a clothes shop with the windows absolutely crammed full ob black vintage sewing machines. It looks impressive. xxx

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  5. What a shame they've just been left to languish in the window :(

    www.mancunianvintage.com

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    Replies
    1. I know, bet someone somewhere would love those...

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  6. I love going to old towns and seeing if what all signs are still up. My in-laws are holding onto an old Barnia that's missing the foot pedal.
    We were in downtown Los Angeles and I saw old air raid sirens that were from WWII. It's was an awesome and scary reminder of the past.

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    1. Wow, fancy coming across those sirens. Certainly a blast from the past (pun intended!)

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  7. I saw those sewing machines when I was in Bath in September! Poor things, they do tug at the heartstrings of the crafter :)

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  8. bath looks charming, i'd like to visit one day. love that old condensed milk sign too. those sewing machines need a loving home.

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    Replies
    1. Can certainly recommend a visit, although it does get very busy in the summer and at Christmas.

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  9. I don't sew but I love that Singer machine, such a shame.

    I love Bath too when growing up used to go to the big park on the hill and then walk through the Crescent into town.

    I intend making a trip next year to go to the "Wool" shop looks lovely online.

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    1. I've been to 'Wool' and can recommend it - just watch those purse strings though as they're likely to get a severe tugging!

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  10. I love seeing those old painted signs on the walls of old shops. Those sewing machines look very forlorn, poor things! x

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    1. I know plenty of people who'd give those machines a good home....

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  11. I lived in Bath for a few years when I first left home (parents home was Melksham) ... you've reminded me that I miss the place.

    I'd have felt the same about the sewing machines :)

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    1. You were lucky to line in Bath, its one of my favourite cities and I've got so many great memories of visiting it when I was a kid and in my teens.

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  12. Lucky for me, I live in Canada! When I saw the photo with the black sewing machine in the bottom shelf, I just wanted to take it home and love it! I love vintage, too; vintage anything . . . I was lucky enough a few years ago to find the knitting book that my Mum and Auntie used to make my baby shawl. I started another and it has stitches done by Mum, that Auntie and another Aunty. It's not finished yet, but one day . . . The original was made in 1946, when Mum was expecting me. I never saw it as an older child; I think it just wore out as it was used for the sibs who came after me. Not even a photo of it, which is too bad. But who knew I'd be such a nostalgic person?
    Anyway, I really enjoy your posts. Thanks for sharing. ~ Linne

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  13. No doubt All Saints will snap them up for its window displays! There are some good old brick painted adverts in London as well, if you look up high enough x

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  14. you are right it hurts me too to see these poor old sewing machines alone there and i would love to give them a new home too!
    thank you so much for your lovely comment!
    kiss,mary

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