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15 February 2021
Something very niche on the Persephone Post this week: London Street Signs, based on the book by Alistair Hall. His twenty-five chapters have topics such as Milk-glass Nameplates, Wooden Nameplates, Northwood Revival Nameplates, Applied Lettering etc etc. Street signs are important because they add to the streetscape aesthetically, or detract. And for anyone interested in books and publishing, the typeface is always something to notice. We start with a street sign hero, David Kindersley, who noticed in 1947 'the unique and characterful cast-iron street names being removed from the centre of Cambridge'. Luckily the City Engineer promptly put back the cast-iron signs (one is tempted to put three exclamation marks after that remark) and David Kindersley was asked to design lettering specifically for street signs. Nowadays the Royal Borough of Kensington is the main user of Kindersley in London. Although, as Alistair Hall points out, 'the layout is quite uncomfortable with the borough name set in Gothic lettering, taking undue prominence.' We have chosen the Allen Street sign because this is the street lived in by Mollie Panter-Downes's daughter and every February (this week in fact) we send her royalty cheque there!
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