Retro Graphics @ SOHO

While rat-running on foot through crowded streets of the West End, I bumped into some intriguing retro graphics on the wall.
Next to the sloping entrance of public car park on Poland Street, off Oxford Street, there were two images on the wall which style strongly suggested that they were remnants of the 1950s advertisements.

By the way, Poland Street was once famous for being a host of the Britain’s very first large-scale conveyor belt sushi restaurant, Yo! Sushi in 1997. The chain, now as prevalent as dandelions by the road side, used be a hip & must place where to be & to be seen in its heyday. Even though the portion was mean and the price was extortionate, the punters queued up at the door, wanting to sit on the stools and be mesmerized by the sushi encased in a plastic babble cap on slow moving conveyor belts. After the sushi bar proved to be a mega hit, they expanded the premises to its basement, naming it, Yo! Below. The new space sported tatami mat and square tables with sunken floors so the customers could sit down with their legs down, not cross-legged. Instead of sushi, the restaurant offered boxed bento. Upon request, they offered a complimentary Shiatsu massage as well. It was gimmicky but also fun.

One December, Hubbie and his agency work colleague hired an entire floor for a X’mas party and ended up having a rather unpalatable experience. They were all at the tables and the party was in a full swing when one of them became aware that she could feel something soft under her toe. The staff was summoned and he probed a mystery object under the table. It turned out to be… A HUGE DEAD RAT! Hubbie recounted how every one pulled its legs out of the table in a flash and curled up in horror once the rodent emerged. The restaurant apologized profusely and wrote off the whole bill. However, the venue was forever vanished from his agency’s party list. And that poor girl, who ended up planting her foot on the dead rat, I hope she has got over the experience by now…


There must have been a servicing garage within the car park when these adverts was painted on the wall…


Apparently this old BP logo shown here borrowed the shape of an interstate freeway sign in the United States…


Instead of their present trademark which resembles green dahlia petals, the old one is a lot more fitting to what BP really is. There is NOTHING green about them.
Still, this BP Energol ad looked handsome and groovy after nearly 60 years.

Next to it was an ad of Regent Remoulds tyres…


The graphic screaming for the attention of passing drivers. I imagine supplies for cars in the fifties of post-war Britain must have been not as plentiful nor inexpensive like they are now.

Another retro sign I came across was on Wardour Street…


A boarded-up tobacconist “The Hobbit”.
The Hobbits’ love for their pipes is well-known. Therefore, the name seems very appropriate for the purpose. The only shame is it is no longer in business…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

5 thoughts on “Retro Graphics @ SOHO

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