Ever wondered what the word ‘babelas’ actually means? Or why the board outside Morelli’s barbers shows the proprietor in the guise of a devil surrounded by vampire bats? Wonder no more – Clarendon Spark brings you seven little-known factoids to tuck away in the ‘local trivia’ section of your brain…
- Northern Cobbler, purveyors of posh coffee and even posher shoes, has a fish as its logo. You know the one – it’s an upper-class fish wearing a top hat and a monocle and carrying with it an air of superiority. You’d be forgiven for assuming that the fish in question is a cobbler, but you’d be wrong, it is in fact a sea bass. Apparently ‘Sea Bass’ was the school nickname of one of Northern Cobbler’s owners. Who’d have guessed?
- The hard-working orange juicer in Queens Road’s Salvador Deli has juiced over a quarter of a million oranges.
- In 2009, Avenue Primary School on Avenue Road Extension was one of the first places in the UK to introduce ‘child bollards’ in an attempt to slow down drivers. It caused quite a kerfuffle at the time and even warranted an article in the Daily Mail with the headline ‘The child bollards that are so lifelike they’re scaring motorists‘.
- Clarendon Park Road gift shop Elizabeth James takes its name from the middle names of the owner’s two children.
- Did you know that Clarendon Park has its own resident mythological creature? Sat atop the highest gable of 19 East Avenue is a wyvern. This stone creature, halfway between a dragon and a gargoyle, stares balefully down at the street below and adds more than a touch of gothic drama to the vista.
- ‘Babelas‘ is an Africaans word meaning ‘hangover’. A fitting name for a Queens Road bar that has been responsible for more than one sore head the morning after.
- Ever passed Morelli’s barbers on Queens Road and wondered why the sign outside shows the eponymous owner as a demon barber character, surrounded by devils and vampire bats? Well, some time ago, Mrs Morelli decided to get a caricature of her husband drawn as a birthday present. The idea was that it would not only be a fun and original gift, but also something he could display in the barbers. However, when the illustrator showed Mrs Morelli the drawing, behind Mr M. wielding his scissors were four ladies waiting to have their hair cut. Mrs Morelli pointed out that this wouldn’t do because Morelli’s was a gent’s barber, and it didn’t have any female customers. The illustrator promptly turned the waiting ladies into plain black figures to make them more anonymous. But then it seems he went a bit off-piste. Inspired by the slightly sinister looking silhouettes now lurking in the background, he added devil horns. He then went completely to town, adding fire, bats and a forked tail to the drawing of Mr Morelli. Thankfully, Mr and Mrs M. both loved the new illustration and it’s been a fixture outside the shop ever since.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this eclectic little run-down of local facts. If you have any little-known nuggets of info about Clarendon Park you’re keeping to yourself, please do share them below in the comments section.