Monday, February 18, 2008

Prahran Pt 3

I quite like this building although it looks a little odd having nothing beside of a similar height. I believe the old sign on one side says Reckitts Blue. One of you old ducks can perhaps explain what that is.

Opposite that is another another old advertising sign which I can't really make out except for 'soap'.

Tony will add the advertising signs to his brilliant little piece of work. I wish I had thought of doing what he has done first.

I might add, it is damn hard to take decent photos with such limited space and electric and tram wires running everywhere.

A good bit more information and colour has been added to Prahran Pts 1 and 2 via comments. Thanks all.


  1. "I believe the old sign on one side says Reckitts Blue."

    Isn't that when you stop breathing and your legs end up shaped like a crochet hoop? A bit like a Porthouse Blue only more malnourished

  2. Thanks for the plug, and the compliment, Andrew. The pictures are up on the map now. If anyone else has a photo of an old sign they'd like to add please send it on through to me - tony (a)

  3. Don't know if I qualify as an "old duck" but I can explain what Reckitts Blue is - it would be would be laundry blue - added to white washes to brighten. Adding a hint of blue to a slightly greyed or yellowed linens makes them appear brighter and whiter. Up until a few years ago, you used to be able to by laundry blue in a liquid form in the supermarkets, and a powdered generic version from the South Melb Market. I believe Reckitts Blue was in a solid tablet form that you grated into the wash.

  4. Brian, all together now, in the finest NZ accent, Rick is blue.

    Pleasure Tony.

    It wasn't you who I had in mind Altissima, but thank you anyway. I wonder if it was Cazzie's father who sold it at his soap stall at SM Market.

  5. Ricketts blue was a solid slowly dissolving little block enclosed in a bag with string attached that you suspended in water during the rinse, it worked as described by altissima. I think you could get more than one wash from each one because I remember seeing partly used blocks in old backyard laundries.

  6. Laundry is a nice word, but they were wash houses then, with concrete troughs. The plum pudding was hung there too. In the late 1980s I owned a house in Yarraville which still had its wash house, troughs and all. It also had two old peach trees in the tiny front yard and another out the back, plus a three metre long railway platform sign made of wood and saying "Castlemaine" which was being used to help enclose the rear porch.

  7. I'm sorry to have been so active today but I was posting from the Thornbury apa-a-a-artment owned by my biographical subject Mr Mad Geoff W which I regard as my Northern Suburbs retreat and to which I have a key.
    He was not there of course and I had a jolly time leafing through his dirty books, pocketing some loose change, knocking myself up a feed etc, and firing off blog comments to all my darlings. Unfortunately he arrived home about three, just as I was swinging towards manic, but never mind, I turned it on him instead: a sudden head-lock and two jabs to the ribs.

    Loving you

  8. the soap would be VELVET.
    In the 1950's it was used for everything.
    For dishwashing the soap block was encased in a wire cage on a handle which was then whished in the water.
    The soap came in a longish block and each bar was broken off as needed, resulting in a very unattractive jagged edge.
    Unbelievable looking back.
    The first liquid detergent was BP Comprox - all detergent is a petroleum by-product -just think about that. Makes the Velvet Soap look good.

  9. thanks for the link to Tony's map - how clever of him to get those blue pins on it.

    I always wonder why we respond emotionally to old things ...

  10. That's how I thought Reckitts Blue was used Robert. Concrete troughs in wash houses were not nice for knuckles.

    It was awful to wash dishes with Velvet soap Ann. It made them so slippery. That much I remember. I worked in a service and it used to sell Comprox. Bob Dyer used to advertise it too. Not sure I am particularly emotional about old signs, but I would like them to be recorded in history.

  11. Anonymous4:33 pm

    Great shot. I would love to live in that sort of 'above shop' apartment.

  12. We had an idea of doing it once Reuben. We looked at a newly renovated one in Windsor, alas, it was over a fish and chip shop.