The Heritage of London Trust is calling on the logistics sector to help save a historic mosaic sign advertising vintage truck rental firm United Service Transport Company, which was launched in 1919 by commercial transport pioneer Walter Flexman French.
The Trust, which is charity specialising in rescuing and restoring historic monuments and buildings in London, is warning that the sign is now in danger of disintegration, and could be lost for ever unless urgent repairs are carried out.
United Service Transport Company, which was also known as United Green or United London, had a founding principle to help ex-servicemen from the First World War get back into employment. It rented commercial vehicles on contract hire and ran coaches and char-a-banks.
Three of the company’s buildings in London were known by their prominent green and gold mosaic signs, which read: “United Service Transport Co Ltd”. Now, only one remains, located on Merton Road in Southfields, behind a Shell garage.
It is believed to be one of the largest commercial mosaic signs still in existence, however, it has been in situ for at least 90 years and in the past few months has deteriorated badly.
The Southfields Grid Residents Association has joined forces with the Heritage of London Trust to help save the sign.
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They believe the mosaic to be of historical importance and worthy of preservation and have been raising funds to start the remedial work.
The mosaic has missing tesserae, a part blown glazed brick frame and cracks throughout, and has previously been part repaired with cement.
The repair project will include cleaning, removal of cement, grouting cracks, anchoring the mosaic to the wall, replacing missing tesserae and the blown, moulded, glazed brick frame. Structural and waterproofing repairs may also be needed.
Most of the funding to repair the mosaic has been raised, thanks to a grant from HOLT, a donation from Jack Barclay Service Centre - which now occupies the building where the mosaic is sited - and local contributions.
However there is still a “small shortfall”, the Trust said this week, and, together with local residents, it is hoping the logistics sector will help make up the funds in order to help preserve this important piece of transport history .
More information about the company and photographs of the damaged mosaic can be found at www.heritageoflondon.org/projects/united-transport-mosaic
Donations can be made to the Heritage of London Trust by contacting them at email@example.com or by calling 020 7099 0559.