Signs and Wonders No 5: Sugar and spice

Where: Corner of Upper Parliament Street and Clinton Street West
What: Any column about buildings in Nottingham is going to spend time in the company of the architect Watson Fothergill. He designed less than you'd think, and hardly a thing outside Notts, but his flamboyant late-19th Century Gothic style -- brick with stripes of colour, towers, fancy roofs, rich sculptural detail -- flavours the city like a spice.
His surviving masterpiece is probably the old NatWest bank in Thurland Street. One of its more unusual points, which reader Sonya Rudd kindly e-mailed to point out, will feature next week. But I wanted to start with somewhere easier to ignore.
The Lloyds TSB in Parliament Street went up in 1896 as a shop and warehouse for Furley's the grocer, a local firm that Industries of Nottingham declared seven years earlier was "clearly entitled to take a foremost rank in the tea, provision and grocery trade" in the city. It went on to talk of Furley's international links.
The shop's decorations show a similar emphasis on the glamorous, imperial end of the provisions biz. Just above the ground floor, terracotta panels -- cheaper than the Thurland Street building's carved stone ones -- depict growing and trading tea, cutting and boiling cane sugar.
To judge by the similar panels on his office around the corner, Fothergill probably had them made by Creswick's of Birmingham. Daniel Laurence Golberg, who researched the matter in the 1970s, reckons he would have given general ideas for the designs, rather than detailed drawings, and then tweaked models before manufacture. But however they were created, the end result is all Fothergill.