Boot Scrapers in Oxford

In addition to its abundance of beautiful architecture, famous colleges and courtyards, spires, museums, and canals, Oxford also has its fair share of lovely boot scrapers. In a quiet residential area, I stumbled across a long street filled with boot scrapers — almost every one with a unique shape. But they […]

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Benchmarks in England

Across Great Britain is a network of benchmarks. There used to be about half a million benchmarks, but as they have become obsolete, about half have disappeared. The first primary leveling in the UK was carried out in 1841-60, the second in 1912-21, and the third in 1951-56. The horizontal bar above […]

Anti-Toilet in London

I first heard of anti-toilets from an article about urine deflectors in London. Since then I have come across them in Austria and Prague, and possibly a curious indoor one in Lviv. In my recent short visit to London, I came across this set of anti-toilets.

Take Courage ghost sign

Ghost Signs: England

England’s ghost signs, or fading brick ads, are the most famous and numerous. There is a website Ghostsigns dedicated to them (above all in England, but also around the world) and on Facebook there are many groups dedicated to these old signs. Suprisingly I didn’t come across that many during […]

Stiles in Bibury

The village of Bibury is located in the Cotswolds — a region in south-central England famous for its Cotswold stone (a type of limestone) and historic, charming villages. Along with the stone cottages, another feature of this region is its dry stone walls. While the oldest example of such a wall in […]

Anchor Plates: Amsterdam

Along with hoisting beams, anchor plates are a prominent feature of Amsterdam’s building facades.

Hoisting Beams: Amsterdam

Amsterdam is beaming with hoisting beams. Previously I associated hoisting beams solely with old merchant’s homes, but unlike other port cities where I’ve seen them, in Amsterdam they are found not only on the old canal houses, but all over the city, including on ordinary residential buildings. Due to fifteenth […]

Ghost Signs: Amsterdam

lamp post

Lamp Posts and Water Pumps in Winnetka

The village of Winnetka, a suburb of Chicago, incorporated in 1869, has still a few remnants from its earliest years found in the infrastucuture and architecture.  In particular, in the yards of some of the oldest houses that date from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuies one can find […]

Ghost Sign: Gothenburg

Gothenburg’s Sandwich Shop Fresh butter Fresh eggs  

Ghost Signs: Stockholm