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Painted post office sign on brick wall at Allen Road, Stoke Newington, London N16.
Post Office, Allen Road/Milton Grove, London N16

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Post Office, Allen Road (Pictured)

There was a Post Office operating here on Allen Road for 130 years between 1872 and 2002. Its closure represented the later stages of decline for what was once a bustling street with dozens of retailers offering everything you might need for house and home. In 1972 photographer Richard Scott captured the essence of this high street ‘off the high street’ in a composite panoramic image of all the shops on its North side; the Post Office was on the South Side.

It is difficult to date the sign, although the presence of the N16 post code places it after 1917 when London’s postal districts were first numbered. However, the most noteworthy thing about the sign is the spacing error on the second line. Here the signwriter confidently starts with the intention of lettering Stoke Newington in all upper case before realising there’s not enough room. After quickly adjusting to a mixture of upper and lower case, all that’s left is the ST of Stoke Newington as an enduring reminder of a bad day up the ladder.

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