This sign caught my eye while I was exploring Limehouse Town Hall. The jaunty red and navy blue, highlighted by the late afternoon sun, draw the attention. They are a reminder that the building and its neighbour once belonged to the British and Foreign Sailors' Society, one of several properties in Limehouse.
These premises on Newell Street were a sea training establishment for boys, and apparently have a Victorian swimming pool in the basement. The Prince of Wales' Sea Training Hostel opened in 1920, the buildings having been adapted at a cost of almost £10,000. There were stringent requirements for admission on the six-month training programme. Boys between 14 1/2 and 16 years old, able to swim 100 yards, needed to provide medical and sight certificates along with excellent character references. Perhaps the easiest element to satisfy was height, with a requirement that the boy be over 5 feet 1 inch tall. Sailors' orphans had priority, and their fees were waived.
In 1940, the hostel moved to Norfolk and this building was requisitioned. However, its enamel sign remains, one more tangible link to Limehouse's maritime past.