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More Of Peta Bridle’s London Etchings

March 31, 2016
by the gentle author

It has been a year since we heard from Peta Bridle, but this week she sent me her latest drypoint etchings of urban subjects to add to her growing portfolio of favourite people and places in London

Richard Lee, Sclater St “Very obligingly, Richard let me take his photo whilst he was mending a puncture. His stall was originally set up on this pitch by his grandfather, Henry William Lee in the eighteen-eighties. Henry William passed the business on to his son Henry George Lee and now his grandson Richard runs the stall every Sunday in Sclater St Market on the same spot.”

Culpeper’s Herbs – “Here is a selection used by Herbalist Nicholas Culpeper who lived near Puma Court off Commercial St in Spitalfields. Here he ran his clinic and grew herbs to tend the sick in the seventeenth century. From left to right: Dandelion, Campion, Ox-eye Daisy, Buttercup & Ragwort.”

De Walvisch, Wapping – “I first saw this boat when I visited Hermitage Moorings last September over the Open House weekend. Then I contacted the owners and they kindly allowed me to draw their home. De Walvisch means ‘The Whale’ and she is a Dutch sailing Klipper boat from 1896. The boat has retained its original roef (deckhouse) and riveted iron hull. The owners told me that De Walvisch used to deliver eels to London along the Thames.”

Paul Gardner, Gardners Market Sundriesmen, Commercial St – “Here is my new picture of Paul Gardner. He patiently allowed me to draw him again after my last plate of him wore out. When you enter Paul’s shop you can barely move, so only about four people at a time can squeeze in! The shelves bow with the weight of bags and heaped in front of the counter are more bags and balls of string. Paul is a fourth generation Market Sundriesman and his great-grandfather James Gardner opened his shop here in the 1870.”

Waterloo Station “This is a station I use frequently, and the clock and streams of people caught my eye.”

Crescent Trading, Quaker St “The last remaining cloth warehouse in Spitalfields. where you can buy fine wool cloths, silks, damasks and cottons, Crescent Trading is run by two dapper gentlemen, Philip Pittack & Martin White. Whenever I visit, they are always beautifully attired in smart suits and ties.”

Shad Thames, Bermondsey “A riverside street lined with converted warehouses, in Victorian times, these were used to house tea, coffee and spice. When I first moved to London in the nineties you could walk along here and still smell the aroma of spices trapped in the brickwork.”

Gas Holders, Bethnal Green – “Viewed from Mare St, along Corbridge Crescent past Empress Coaches, you see a fine pair of nineteenth century gas holders. English Heritage have decided not to list them and instead granted the owners a Certificate of Immunity against listing, permitting the gas holders to be destroyed and the site redeveloped.”

Blossom St, Norton Folgate – “Running the length of Blossom St are a row of Victorian warehouses built in 1868. Once the headquarters of Nicholls & Clarke they now stand empty, awaiting their fate. This is such a beautiful atmospheric street with its black brickwork and cobbles, I find it inconceivable that a tower block could one day loom in its place.”

Fruit & Wool Exchange, Spitalfields “Viewed from the top of Spitalfields Market, the dignified Wool and Fruit Exchange stood in Brushfield St since 1927, yet today only a part of the facade remains.”

Phoenix Wharf, Wapping High St – “This beautiful old wharf caught my eye when I was out on a walk. It was built around 1830 and is the oldest wharf in Wapping. Luckily the building itself is not under threat, but the view we have of it now will change forever as the car park opposite is due for redevelopment along with Swan Wharf next door. The developers plan to reduce the Stepney lamppost, the oldest gas lamp left in London, to a stump.”

Oxgate Farm, Cricklewood – “One could easily walk past this without realising what a beautiful building lies behind the scaffolding. Yet once inside it is peaceful and quiet, and modern London is shut off completely. Oxgate Farm has stood here since 1465 and was once part of a thousand acre Manor of Oxgate owned by St. Paul’s Cathedral but now it is reduced to just the farm and back garden. Although Oxgate Farm has managed to survive the centuries, now it badly needs repairs to stop it falling down.”

Archaeological finds from the Bishopsgate Goodsyard – From the left to right – Bone spoon, bone button (top), ceramic wig curler (beneath), green glass phial(top),  green glass bottle (beneath), white ceramic spoon (top), pair of ceramic marbles and a child’s bone whistle. (Courtesy of Museum of London Archaeology).

Tiles from the Bishopsgate Goodsyard – “Eighteenth century tin-glazed delftware wall tiles, as used in the fire surrounds of upper and middle class households. On the top left, I like the grumpy expression on the fisherman’s face – probably because he had tangled his line around his companions legs –  also, the expressive posture of the couple talking in the meadow below appeals to me, she with her hand on her hip and clutching her bag.” (Courtesy of Museum of London Archaeology)

Gary Arber, W F Arber & Co Ltd – In 2014, Gary closed the print shop opened by his grandfather Walter in 1897 – “Gary is stood next to a Golding Jobber which he told me was used to print handbills for the suffragettes. On his right stands a Supermatic machine and, behind him in the corner, is a Heidelberg which he filled with paper to show me how it worked. The whole room was a confusion of boxes and paper with the odd tin toy thrown in, and lots of string hanging from the ceiling. I feel privileged to have been invited downstairs to make this record of his print shop.”

Spoons by Barn The Spoon – “From left to right: A cooking spoon. A spoon of medieval design. A spoon based on a Roma Gypsy design. The small spoon in the centre is a sugar spoon. A shovel. The large spoon on the right is a Roman ladle spoon. Barn told me the word ‘Spon’ which is carved on the handle is an old Norse word which means ‘chip of wood.’”

Leila’s Shop, Calvert Avenue “- I love visiting Leila’s Shop throughout the year to discover the fresh vegetables of every season, straight from the field and piled up in mouth-watering displays.”

Donovan Bros, Crispin St – “Although it is not a shop anymore I believe Donovan Bros are still producing packaging. I like the muted colours the shop front has been painted and wonder what the shop would have looked like inside?”

Borough Market, London Bridge – “This is the view overlooking Borough Market, looking from the top of Southwark Cathedral tower. The views of London from up there are beautiful but I don’t like the height too much!”

Wapping Old Stairs – “To reach the stairs you have a to go along a tiny passage to the side of the Town of Ramsgate. Originally, the stairs were a ferry point for people wishing to catch a boat along the river. I think they are quite beautiful and I like to see the marks of the masons’ tools, still left on the stones after all this time.”

The Widow’s Son, Bow (now closed for redevelopment) – “The landlady stands  holding a hot cross bun in front of a large glass Victorian mirror with the pub name etched onto it. Every Good Friday, they have a custom where a sailor adds a new bun in a net hanging over the bar to celebrate the widow who once lived here, who made her drowned sailor son a hot cross bun each Easter in remembrance.”

E.Pellicci, Bethnal Green Rd – “Nevio Pellicci kindly allowed me to make a couple of visits to take pictures as reference to create this etching. It was at Christmas time and after they closed for the afternoon. Daisy my daughter is sitting in the corner.”

Tanya Peixoto at bookartbookshop, Pitfield St. “I am friends with Tanya who runs this shop and she has stocked my homemade books in the past.”

Des at Des & Lorraine’s Junk Shop, Bacon St – “An amazing place that I want to re-visit since I never got to look round it properly …”

Prints copyright © Peta Bridle

9 Responses leave one →
  1. David Tarrant permalink
    March 31, 2016


    These are stunning!


  2. March 31, 2016

    Peta’s work is wonderful, love her enormous attention to detail. Valerie

  3. Georgina Briody permalink
    March 31, 2016

    Really enjoyed looking at these etchings today and made me feel perhaps I should revisit some of these places before they are lost forever. It breaks my heart to see what the developers have done to Spitalfields. Donovan’s is alive and well in Deptford and I see the building every time I travel up to town by train. I remember Shad Thames in the active docks days, when it was derelict and as it is now and, as recent as the 90s, there was a spice warehouse still working and you could smell the spices well before you passed the building en route to work in the City.

    I took my Aussie friends to the stairs by the Town of Ramsgate so I hope Maggie will remember her visit when she sees the etching!

  4. March 31, 2016

    Such fantastic detail here, really amazing. And truly, an artist after your own heart.

  5. Robin permalink
    March 31, 2016

    Brilliant work.

  6. ROBERT GREEN permalink
    March 31, 2016

    This is very clever, the photo like detail combined with the drawing like appearance gives the images a unique appeal, nice to see my old mate Richard top of the pile, but sobering to note that even in the relatively short time since these were created how many of the subjects in this sequence have either already gone or are very shortly about to, very sobering indeed.

  7. April 29, 2017

    My mum, Peta bridle is AMAZING at art. She is gifted and very talented at it. Well done mum!!!

  8. Shawdian permalink
    May 11, 2017

    Yes Reviewer Angel I quite agree, your mums etchings are magnificent.

  9. Diane Doble Leemans permalink
    February 7, 2019

    What a gift for posterity. Fantastic work!

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