London 1955


With recent talk about the Euston Portico being put back after British Rail knocked it down to replace it with a glass box, it’s worth looking at the original, although it would be nice to find a photograph in which it wasn’t covered in WW2 soot. While nowhere near as attractive as the St Pancras Hotel, it does echo the portico’ed church across the road, and loomed much larger than it appears in the picture.

While I was looking at the shots (no name to credit them to, unfortunately), I saw this one of Foyles, when it existed on both sides of the street. This would have been under the old Foyles purchasing system, whereby to buy a book you had to get a receipt stamped first, and the whole process took ages.

10 comments on “London 1955”

  1. Oh, yes, I remember that old system well. It took me ages to buy a book on T.H. White’s correspondance, shifting stamped papers to and fro…

  2. Simon says:

    There is a large, victorian, arts and crafts store in Chennai (Madras) that still uses this system. Lovely chaos ensues as the receipt is produced in the middle of the large counter, then payment made on the right followed by collection of your wrapped goods on the left.

  3. Alan says:

    Hmm – Argos at Christmas?

  4. Stephen Groves says:

    Hi Chris,
    I remember the system in foyles of getting the paper stamped ,also paying at those little booths they had inside the store.
    Oh god ,Im old.When the fuck did that happen? I’ll be remembering going to school with “Will” Hay next.

    All Best

  5. Anne Fernie says:

    They used to have that system in Russia too. Woe betide if you tried to circumvent any part of the process all of which involved lengthy queues – everyone would shout at you unintelligably.

  6. admin says:

    Hey, Stalky, you don’t remember my ‘missing story, do you? It’s called ‘Fast Awake’ and I swear I never saw it before reading it the other day, although I vaguely remember coming up with the idea…

  7. Helen Martin says:

    Notice the number of men gazing into Foyle’s window. Surely they’re not reminiscing about the school books advertised above the window.

  8. Mr Tub says:

    Someone at work told me that Danny La Rue spent the last years of his life living in a flat above Foyles. Any truth in that or is it in the post with the cheque – remember them?

  9. stephen groves says:

    Hi Chris,
    Fast Awake,lately I’ve had trouble staying awake , lost count of how many half films I’ve seen,another age thing I surpose.As for the Story I can’t find a trace of it .
    You do realise that now i know it’s out there i’ll want it .I think i’ve got a mental illness.Come quick Mother, the fever has begun again!

    Wait a minute are you sure it’s not just a cheap Japanese copy of the real thing like one of those rolex watches you can buy off the street market stalls.Stranger things can happen.

    all best

  10. Helen Martin says:

    I wondered that, too, whether someone translated it into Japanese and then it was turned back into English. It wouldn’t sound the same because of word choices in two languages, but should sound at least partially familiar.

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