Junkyards tend to be the end of the line, metal graveyards where unwanted motors are crushed into oblivion, but Walthamstow’s God’s Own Junkyard is different: it’s a place where vintage neon signs are salvaged and given a home so they can keep shining under the watchful eye of ‘The King of Neon’ Chris Bracey. That is until now, as property developers have bought the land and it looks like Bracey will be forced to close so they can build flats on the site.
Home to the family neon signage business for the last few decades, God’s Own Junkyard has, in more recent times, opened to the public (Fridays and Saturdays only) and provides an endearingly chaotic showcase of Bracey’s art, all the way from his days grafting a living and producing signs for the likes of sex mogul Paul Raymond in ‘60s Soho through to his eye-popping creations for the likes of Kubrick and Creed (that’s the artist Martin not Apollo, just in case you were wondering).
Given that this is the UK’s, and indeed Europe’s, equivalent to the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas, a museum with global appeal for neon junkies and art lovers, it would seem a much better idea to use it to help promote Walthamstow to the world; the thought of it being turned into flats and rebranded as the Neon Quarter (or some other equally inappropriate name) seems a real shame. Mark O’Donnell