I’M quite prepared to accept not a single reader of this post is going to agree, but one of the problems with chronicling the same area for many years is that you become attached to certain things. Strange things.
As a curious archway to Camden Town, I was fond of the blue ‘Ferodo Bridge’ next to Camden Road station, even if it looked tattier with each passing year. It is has now been replaced with an indigo wash and the Camden Town Unlimited (CTU) logo, the one where the ‘o’ in ‘Town’ is a power switch. I’ve nothing against CTU, the business group for the area, but the bridge’s clinical new look has brushed away a little link with the past.
For me, a little bit of bohemian scruff is part of what makes Camden Town. I don’t mean bags of rubbish spilling onto the pavement, fountains of booze-sick or the least artistic grafitti should be welcomed. But Camden Town grows comfortably with its oldest bleamishes and the sight of the ‘Ferodo’ meant you were almost there. You suspect it might have been considered just too tatty for the Olympics.
Maybe, despite what I said at the top, there will be others who will lament, just a little, the loss of an advert that had become burned into our opening image of NW1. Take Alex Marsh’s aged piece in The Guardian: ‘Why I Love Ferodo Bridges’, which describes them as “timeless – advertisments that have been absorbed into the fabric of the cityscape and become landmarks in their own right”. Not a bad way of putting it.
Then there is blogger Dave Mance who wrote of the bridge: “Not many ads can run every day for decades without getting boring but this one’s pulled it off. Every time I pass it I get a special warm feeling, a bit like weeing in a wetsuit.”
And you can read more on the history of Ferodo, the company and the bridges here, because it’s not just a Camden thing. People collect pictures of them like train spotters watching out for engines at King’s Cross.
Nothing lasts forever, Camden changes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t give a nod to the little things we lose along the way.