Hertford, county town of Hertfordshire

We're sure that Hertford has much more to offer, but this is a good start. Thanks to Richard Holman for capturing this extravagant example of historic lettering. There's money in alcohol.

Green Dragon Hotel (former stables), The Wash
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Hertford Green Dragon Hotel2023 image courtesy Richard Holman
‘GREEN DRAGON HOTEL
CATERING FOR LARGE & SMALL PARTIES
ACCOMMODATION FOR MOTORISTS & CYCLISTS
GOOD STABLING & MOTOR PIT.

MCMULLEN & SONS LTD.
WINE & SPIRITS MERCHANTS
PROPRIETORS OF
BONDED VAULTS
OFFICES MILL BRIDGE

ENTRANCE
TO
VAULTS’
This Edwardian signs sum up a period of transition from the dominance of the horse at the centre of our society, eventually to be replaced by the internal combustion engine. 'Good stabling' is given equal importance to 'Motor pit' in the sign.

The actual, large Green Dragon Hotel building is nearby at 31 and 33 Maidenhead Street; it is Listed Grade II. The building in the photograph is a riot of stylish terra cotta raised lettering rather than a 'ghost sign'. It is separately Listed Grade II:-
'Former stables and garage (to former Green Dragon Hotel), and bonded vaults, now converted to shops, offices and cellar bar. c1903-4, with late C20 alterations. Architect James Farley. Bronze brick with terracotta dressings and ornament, clay tiled roof with C20 rooflights. Built as stabling to former Green Dragon Hotel, Nos 31 & 33 Maidenhead Street (qv), and follows same stylistic character. EXTERIOR: 2 storeys, large blank facade, with Dutch gable facing street, tall parapet with terracotta pilasters, finials and copings. Ground floor has brick plinth, with blank arches, terracotta band, and large terracotta panel with raised lettering 'McMullen & Sons Ltd, Wine and Spirit Merchants. Proprietors of Bonded Vaults. Offices Mill Bridge'. To right is recessed doorway, with C20 glazed doors, and raised surround with recessed panel above and raised inscription 'Entrance to Vaults'. Moulded cornice at first-floor level, above which is full width terracotta panel within raised frame with ramped top, and raised inscription 'Green Dragon Hotel. Catering for large and small parties. Accommodation for Motorists and Cyclists. Good stabling and Motor Pit'. Long north facade, orange brick utilitarian character, facing former Green Dragon yard - ground floor converted to shops in 1974, with C20 single storey return along eastern side of yard. First floor former stable loft with 5 wooden sash windows with glazing bars recessed with brick reveals. INTERIOR: altered during conversion to shops and not inspected. Forms part of an important street frontage group.’
[Historic England Listing text]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Hertford Green Dragon Hotel2018 image
The large hotel building stands on the corner of Maidenhead Street and The Wash; in the above photograph a roundel bearing this date '1903' can be seen in the pediment high above the corner. The original Green Dragon dated to the 17th century but the current building was erected after a fire destroyed its predecessor in 1903. The stabling, motor facilities and brewery vaults were in the separate building in the hotel yard which can be seen at the far right. McMullen have been brewing in the town since 1827. The former stable building was converted to offices and a restaurant in 1976.


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