So long Ferodo

I’M quite prepared to accept not a single reader of this post is going to agree, but one of the problems with chronicling the same area for many years is that you become attached to certain things. Strange things.

As a curious archway to Camden Town, I was fond of the blue ‘Ferodo Bridge’ next to Camden Road station, even if it looked tattier with each passing year. It is has now been replaced with an indigo wash and the Camden Town Unlimited (CTU) logo, the one where the ‘o’ in ‘Town’ is a power switch. I’ve nothing against CTU, the business group for the area, but the bridge’s clinical new look has brushed away a little link with the past.

For me, a little bit of bohemian scruff is part of what makes Camden Town. I don’t mean bags of rubbish spilling onto the pavement, fountains of booze-sick or the least artistic grafitti should be welcomed. But Camden Town grows comfortably with its oldest bleamishes and the sight of the ‘Ferodo’ meant you were almost there. You suspect it might have been considered just too tatty for the Olympics.

Maybe, despite what I said at the top, there will be others who will lament, just a little, the loss of an advert that had become burned into our opening image of NW1. Take Alex Marsh’s aged piece in The Guardian: ‘Why I Love Ferodo Bridges’, which describes them as “timeless – advertisments that have been absorbed into the fabric of the cityscape and become landmarks in their own right”. Not a bad way of putting it.

Then there is blogger Dave Mance who wrote of the bridge: “Not many ads can run every day for decades without getting boring but this one’s pulled it off. Every time I pass it I get a special warm feeling, a bit like weeing in a wetsuit.”

And you can read more on the history of Ferodo, the company and the bridges here, because it’s not just a Camden thing. People collect pictures of them like train spotters watching out for engines at King’s Cross.

Nothing lasts forever, Camden changes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t give a nod to the little things we lose along the way.

5 Comments on So long Ferodo

  1. Cheer-up Richard, someone’s spray-canned their tag on the left side of the bridge already, so the “bohemian scruff” is returning quite quickly. The urban equivalent of ivy, perhaps.

  2. I don’t think I’ve seen / noticed this yet. Oldham, which I’ve visited at least several times in each year of my life, had Mumps Bridge until recently. “Welcome to Oldham, home of tubular bandage.” It was about as iconic as you get, and I haven’t ever heard anyone talk about what was on there before. But it didn’t just get painted over; the whole damn thing got pulled down to make way for the Metrolink pantographs. The landscape looks pretty bleak and bare without it. Rest in peace, tubular bandage.

  3. Chris Knight // June 13, 2012 at 10:38 am //

    I am a bit of a CTU fan, but that said I am also have very fond memories in the hayday of Ferodo and Michelin and their advertising + their Point of Sale advertising,The loss of the Ferodo bridge does change slightly tatty warm feeling of that part of Camden.
    For once I agree with Osser the new logo is a bit sharp and clinical.

  4. Anthony // June 13, 2012 at 6:48 pm //

    Never mind the Camden town unlimited logo, -( I thought that was just to titillate the tourists down by the market), but they got a bit too clever on the side leaving Camden, by painting. Camden road instead of town, makes it look like you’re crossing to the wrong side of the tracks…

    Is this all because the Olympic torch is coming down royal college street?

    Bring back ferodo!

  5. Colm Gallagher // August 11, 2012 at 10:58 pm //

    Totally agree. A small piece of iconic heritage lost forever. Whoever had this bright idea should be ashamed. We have listed buildings and SSSIs – Ferodo bridges should be protected in a similar way

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