What is this apparition of heaven? Last week I found myself in a neon paradise, standing in a warehouse in North East London, surrounded on all sides by rainbow-hued signage. I thought I’d died and floated off to psychedelic nirvana. God’s Own Junkyard is a shimmering Aladdin’s cave of new and salvaged retro neon signage, religious iconography, disco balls and film props hanging from the ceiling and festooning every available surface in a warehouse space on an industrial estate in Walthamstow. And, guess what, there is a cafe inside this space called The Rolling Scones, where you can have a slice of cake and a cuppa while being dazzled from all sides – amazing!
Have a coffee amid all this splendour:
Artist and lighting designer Chris Bracey was the driving force behind this incredible collection of neon. Over a 37-year period, he crafted neon signs and also collected and restored them. His collection has achieved cult status around the world, and he supplied all kinds of neon wonderment to the film industry, artists and celebrities. I was thrilled to learn that his neon signs were used in one of my all-time favourite films, ‘Bladerunner’. Sadly, Chris passed away last year, but his family have taken on the business and are continuing his good work.
At the Rolling Scones cafe, you can enjoy cakes, sandwiches and hot drinks and just sit back and soak up all the magic. Just don’t come here with children you can’t restrain! I stumbled over the corner of a huge sign resting on the floor and almost had a heart attack thinking about the thousands of pounds-worth of damage I might have caused. But no harm was done. Thankfully I was then distracted by the sight of an original Top of the Pops sign flanking a disco ball bigger than my car – happy memories of my teenage pop-obsessed years flooded back within seconds:
The cafe and exhibition space are only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. What better place to come and be dazzled while you sip on a strong black cup of joe? I might try a rolling scone next time…
Gods Own Junkyard & The Rolling Scones Cafe
Ravenswood Industrial Estate
This piece also features on Huffington Post UK.