Nestled within Ravenswood industrial estate in Walthamstow is the home of a neon paradise: God’s Own Junkyard.
Founded by ”Neon Man” Chris Bracey, who earned himself the title due to being the largest neon collector outside of the US.
Following on from his father, Chris began making signs in 1970 and soon made a name for himself. At one point his work could be seen in 99% of Soho’s sex establishments and, though the area has changed dramatically, you can still see the odd twinkling of neon down the alleys of central London.
A career spanning 37 years his work created a cult following both in the UK and the US and led to him making iconic art pieces for David LaChappelle, Martin Creed, and can been seen in movies such as Eyes Wide Shut, Batman, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as many others.
After many of these famous films wrapped up the signs were simply discarded, so Chris lovingly gave them a home so that they could shine on forever. Sadly Chris died in 2014 but the junkyard has been left in the safe hands of his family.
Walking in through the small doorway, we were instantly welcomed by smaller pieces of work; but when I turned the corner the true extent of the collection was revealed. The room was illuminated with endless light and coloured pieces of all sizes and styles.
Though a small space, I spent hours wandering around trying to take in everything.
Taking a short break in the cafe to discuss our favourites, Pablo and I enjoyed homemade cake with craft beer before continuing to explore.
I have a great respect for people who can turn trash into treasure and this is one junkyard which is filled with a wealth of neon gems.
Housed next to God’s Own Junkyard is Gin Palace and Wildcard Brewery, making it a social hub within the North East London area as well as a neon dream.
With such an eclectic neon gallery to take in this will definitely not be my last visit to God’s Own Junkyard.
God’s Own Junkyard
Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate
London E17 9HQ