Taking a brief break from our Japanese Odyessy to document a quick trip to London this weekend.
Staying with a university friend in Amersham we first head to Walthamstowe, the home of 90s boy band E17!
There’s a surprisingly quaint old village centre with a 15th century timbered house. But our main focus is hidden, rather unprepossessing, on an industrial estate. . .
It’s the home of a neon wonderland, a warehouse of rainbow gas and colourful wonderment….
It’s God’s Own Junkyard – a warehouse of all things neon. A mini Vegas.
The warehouse is full f neon signs that have been created and curated by Chris Bracey.
He’s made neon masterpieces for a wide range of high profile films including Eyes Wide Shut, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Batman.
The junkyard is an elective, electric collection of signs, statues and general bric a brac.
The website describes his haul as “New & used neon fantasies, salvaged signs, vintage neons, old movie props and retro displays.
“Neon art made from found objects, retrieved and renewed waste and lights.
Fairground & circus lighting, architectural sign salvage. Led & cold cathode luxury products. ”
But in truth it is hard to put into words the explosion of colourful joy that this mini rainbow in a metal box evokes.
From words of wisdom to girly bar signs, iconic statues to religious icons. There’s a surprise tucked in every corner.
Whether you’re a lover of rock and roll, burlesque, 80’s club chic or just an avid snapper, this is the place for you.
It’s a eyeball popping, sensual overload and even though it’s only a small space you are hooked for hours.
There is a particular emphasis on striperama’s, girly bars and general sex themed signs.
Neon does have a certain sleazy, enticing charm that works well for the skin trade.
There’s even a darling little outdoor space complete with Alice in Wonderland mushrooms and a pensive Grim reaper.
We take a brief break from the job of snapping to enjoy a HUGE slice of cake in the Rolling Scones cafe . . .
Then it’s onwards to capture yet more of these gas filled neon installations.
You can commission and buy some of these gorgeous creations. I am already imagining one in the living room!
The name neon is derived from the Greek word, νέον, neuter singular form of νέος (neos), meaning new.
Bit of science – Neon is a colorless, odorless, inert monatomic gas under standard conditions, with about two-thirds the density of air.
It was discovered (along with krypton and xenon) in 1898 as one of the three residual rare inert elements remaining in dry air, after nitrogen, oxygen, argon and carbon dioxide were removed.
Neon is often used in signs and produces an unmistakable bright reddish-orange light.
Although tube lights with other colours are often called “neon”, they use different noble gases or varied colours of fluorescent lighting.
The neon sign is an evolution of the earlier Geissler tube, which is an electrified glass tube containing a “rarefied” gas (the gas pressure in the tube is well below atmospheric pressure).
When a voltage is applied to electrodes inserted through the glass, an electrical glow results. Geissler tubes were quite popular in the late 1800s, and the different colours they emitted were characteristics of the gases within.
Neon tube signs are produced by the craft of bending glass tubing into shapes.
A person skilled in this craft is known as a glass bender, neon or tube bender. The neon tube is made out of 1 meter straight “sticks” of glass tubing, which are sold by sign suppliers to neon shops worldwide
The end result is the gorgeous, glowing, confections of light that we all know and love.
So if you’re a neon lover or enjoy exploring a living paintbox then take a detour to an industrial estate in E17 for a trip down the rabbit hole into wonderland!