Portobello Road – London

Portobello Road – London

I was cast in a brass foundry in the Georgian Era sometime between 1804 and 1814. I was sold on Portobello Road in London when a row house was being built, I was a final tribute to some semblance of individuality. The dwelling was set apart from the 1 million other people that called London their home. I was a simply cast door knocker.

For nearly 2 hundred years I enjoyed heralding visitors to this home. I endured numerous wars and a century and a half of coal dust. People knocked when they came to celebrate, people knocked when they came to give their condolences. I was the first contact, I stood vigil.

Fifty years ago a planning commission determined that my home was no longer relevant and that it should be torn down to make way for housing with newer amenities and greater convenience. I once again found myself cast out on Portobello road, in amongst the two miles of outdoor street vendors selling antique hardware.

A man with a black backpack came wandering down this busy street in amongst 20,000 other Londoners. He is traveling with a person I suspect is his wife. They speak with a new world accent. His backpack has been unzipped at least twice by pick pockets in the heavy crowd. It was of no concern to him because he had nothing of value in the backpack.

My knocker is slightly bent after two centuries. My gaze and my poise have not been effected. I am delighted to be found of interest by this couple. They pay a fair price to the brass monger that holds my claim. I am once again valued. I am no longer sold by the pound for the market price of brass.

When I was cast, the world was appreciating the age of enlightenment. Knowledge was (at long last) allowed to flourish and it was held in high regard. Intellectual freedom was most everywhere and a man named Darwin was born.

And now the world is most certainly… no longer flat. I have been purchased by a new world couple and they seem to appreciate me. I once again find myself positioned in a place of importance. I have boarded a machine that is lighter than air and have found myself on another continent.

I have endured the industrial age and I have survived world wars. I now have found a new home in a distant land. A home that respects my past and a home that appreciates my sojourns. I look out over a prairie lake and the tall grass prairies of the North American landscape.

My original sculptor spent time and effort creating me. He gave careful consideration to my features. He took his station in life seriously. My features reflect his abilities and his seriousness regarding his profession.

I once again have value, I once again hold promise, once again, I carry on.

Bill Keitel

Portobello Road (Part 1)
Traditional Shops of London (Part 2-1)
Traditional Shops of London (Part 2-2)
Speakers Corner – London (Part 3)

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