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Shining a Light on East London's Vibrant Neon Paradise: Gods Own Junkyard

Picture of Ruaidhrí Carroll
London Travel Writer
Updated: 31 August 2017
Step into Gods Own Junkyard in Unit 12 of the Ravenscourt Industrial Estate in Walthamstow, East London and discover an incredible lair of light that hordes neon signs from fairgrounds, sex shops and blockbuster movies together under one roof.

“I think, when you’re looking at neon, all the shapes, the colours… you’ve got this carnival… this cocktail of everything going on – but it works.”

Marcus Bracey speaks with a burning passion for his work. It’s seeing his simple sketchbook drawings develop into incredible neon works of wonder that keeps him in love with what he does.

Marcus’s grandfather originally founded Electro Signs in the 1950s. He opened Gods Own Junkyard as a sister project to showcase some of the business’s neon masterpieces, and passed the fluorescent family business on to his son, Chris. Since 2014, it’s Marcus who has been responsible for running the neon nirvana of Walthamstow.

“It means so much. These are like the archives of London, and this is what it means to us. My grandfather did it, my dad did it and now I’m doing it.”

As a child, Marcus was inspired by the artistic glasswork that surrounded him and he loved to produce his own, getting creative in the glass shop next door when he came home from school.

With such enthusiastic beginnings, Marcus could not be better qualified to carry the torch forth on behalf of the illustrious family business, which counts Elton John and Hollywood films like The Dark Knight (2008) and Captain America (2011) among its clientele. That’s not to mention their work with Selfridges and Vogue, which involved a striking photo shoot amongst the bright brilliance of Gods Own Junkyard.

Greenpeace will be delighted to hear that Marcus is committed to reusing and upcycling waste materials and lets nothing go to scrap.

Want to hear about another artist doing great things in London? Check out our interview with Wilfrid Wood. Or why not discover out our 90-second portrait of Californian surfer Nate Tyler?