Visit God’s Own Junkyard at Leadenhall Market
Until the end of July you don’t have to go to Walthamstow to visit God’s Own Junkyard, you can head to Leadenhall Market instead!
They’ve transformed three units into exhibition spaces, adding a splash of neon to the historic market.
History of God’s Own Junkyard
It began with Dick Bracey who founded a neon sign business in the 1950s. He’d made the moved from the coal pits of Wales to building bright lights in Walthamstow.
Gradually he began to specialise in neon, creating bespoke pieces for funfairs, the circus and arcades.
His son, Chris, was an artist and combined the family trade with a knack for sourcing salvaged pieces into signature artwork.
Chris would make bespoke signs for Soho’s sex shops, most famously that of Raymond’s Revue Bar on Brewer Street. John – an illustrator who’s worked at God’s Own Junkyard for over 20 years – showed my this photo from 1986.
The company have replaced the sign 3 times and it can still be seen today.
From Soho, Chris’ work caught the eye of film producers and directors and he’s worked with Stanley Kubrick, Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan (more on that later…)
Chris passed away in 2014 but his son Marcus is now Creative Director. Gods Own Junkyard opened to the public in 2004, an archive you can walk through, eyes wide, soaking up the neon glare and then enjoying their cafe!
Celebrating its 700th birthday this year, Leadenhall Market is itself a spectacular visual backdrop, but now there’s even more colour to be found!
As well as a the main exhibition hub there are two further spaces, one focusing on neon pieces from Judge Dredd
And another with artwork from Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut.
Given Leadenhall Market is a popular place for filming (in the image below the curved building on the left is used as the Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone!) It seems a great use of the space.
Gods Own Junkyard will be in Leadenhall Market until 31 July and its free to visit. The lights are on 8am-midnight daily and you can visit inside the main hub Wed-Sat 11.30am-7.30pm. Find out more here.
MORE LONDON INSPIRATION
Orange Street doesn’t look very historic at first glance. The narrow Westminster street lies between the National Gallery and Leicester Square but there’s a lot more to see than you might guess. Firstly, it was only known as Orange Street from 1905, a reference to......
Nestled behind the Bank of England you can find St Margaret Lothbury. It’s easy to miss, hemmed in by other buildings, but if open it’s well worth popping in to admire its treasures and history. (I’ve previously written about the beautiful Italianate building next door,......
Within the extensive grounds of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire you can find remnants of inspiration for one of London’s most extraordinary buildings, The Crystal Palace. It gave its name to an area of London (and a football team!) but thanks to a disastrous fire you......
Have you admired this dolls house-esque building on Tower Hill? This is Trinity House, an institution whose history stretches back to 1514, based here since 1794. What is Trinity House? Today Trinity House is a charity and its primary concern is the safety of shipping......
For the everyday passerby, there’s not much reason to venture into Strand Lane. It’s not a convenient cut through to the Strand however it has two quite amazing bits of history to discover! I’ve previously covered one of them on the blog, the history of......
As part of my new walking tour Hidden Wonders of Waterloo I’ve been researching the history of Surrey Chapel, an 18th century church that once stood by Southwark Station. Although it no longer stands today, it’s a prime example of the historic twists and turns......