the clock at the top of burnt oak

burnt oak broadway

This was sketched on Burnt Oak Broadway, at the top of Watling Avenue, on the corner of Stag Lane. This is another from the part of London where I am from, and this is the iconic building with the clock tower that was originally the Co-Op’s ‘finest grocery store’. That was long gone by the time I came into the world, and it was several things while I was growing up (I recall buying a stylus for my record player in there when it was a department store), I think it’s Peacocks now. Either way, that big clock tower sits at the top of Burnt Oak looking over us all, and it always reminds me of my Nan, who we called Nam, who lived in the flats across the road and spent many days in the Stag pub, directly opposite. Looking at it makes me feel very sad, and very happy.

On the other corner of Stag Lane there is the Nat West bank. This is the branch where I had my first ever bank account. Kids form the 1980s in Britain will remember the Nat West piggies, and I had the whole set of piggy banks, awarded when you saved to a certain level. My dad still has them, though one of them broke falling from a shelf when I was a teenager (yes, I had old piggy banks on my shelf as a teenager, and I used them too).

It was a cloudy day when I sketched this, the first day of June. We were coming to the end of our trip, and I was feeling pretty exhausted. Travelling back home takes it out of you, so it’s nice to unwind and just draw stuff. I haven’t done much drawing since I got back to Davis, hardly any in fact, and stress is getting the better of me, so I think it’s time I took my own advice and made time for it.

4 thoughts on “the clock at the top of burnt oak

  1. Morris says:

    You’ve already sketched out some of the invisible space-time detail: namely the main artery(sic) of civilisation and transmission, since at least the Romans, who liked to shop at the Coop in the 30’s, visit the Terminus Caff where the trolley buses turned in the ’50’s (I recall) and are now mostly in the East End and Medway.
    Noticed that all Irish connected, don’t mention the Royal. But pity you didn’t catch the inclement pageant, when Canaletto ran into Turner. Up the Waetlings! and your sketches – always refreshing, thank you Pete.

    • pete scully says:

      No Romans now, I do know a Romanian, an old friend, who had a bakery on this block, though it moved recently. As for Royals, they are getting mentioned in the next post..

  2. Keith says:

    We often visited this shop when I grew up here in the 70’s. I can still smell the place (nice, not nasty!). There was a lift that was operated by hand by an elderly man wearing a brown coat. I used to hope I’d get his job when I grew up!

  3. Jennifer says:

    Hello Pete.

    The department store that you remember was the Co-op. The Co-op grocery store & wet fish shop were further down the broadway. I worked there for a while in the early ’70’s on the stationary counter. In our lunch hour we used to go up in the lift to the top of the building, (I don’t think we were really allowed to, ;-) ) & the view is fantastic from up there!
    Fantastic drawings, thank you.

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