3 May 2008

London Ghost signs

These wonderful ghosted advertisements are mainly to be found on the sides of shops and buildings along old high streets. Here is just a small selection.

A larger collection of my photos of ghost signs, and other things that interest me, can be found at www.flickr.com/photos/janepbr

Shown above are:
Gillette in Commercial Street E1;
Wootons Cash Chemist in Richmond Avenue N1;
tea rooms in Museum Street WC2, Bate's salve ('...cures wounds and sores' which overprints an earlier one for '...Kings citrate the original safe and best') in Regent Square WC1;
The front of a building owned by Miller Beale and Hider Ltd glazing contractor which appears to read 'builders...' over/under another sign I can't quite read in Greenland Road NW1 (I now have better photos of this building and will upload them soon);
Take Courage just west of Borough Market SE1;
Bernard' s mens hosier, hatter (and something else I can't make out) which overprints an earlier sign for P(?) Lewis in Brick Lane E1;
pianos and carpets just off Hornsey Road N7;
Boots in Camden High Street NW1 (you save vouchers by shopping at Boots);
upholsterer's sundries in great Eastern Street EC2;
Key Flats in Caledonian Road N7


  1. Jane

    I was walking past a tailor in Soho the other day called Sam Arkus. I took a photo of another bit of London I have known slowly disappearing.

    So I type in Sam Arkus into Google and end up on your Flickr page and now your website. And what a find! I love your photography and would love to see it in a book. Before it all disappears completely.


  2. Thanks Peter
    I'd like to put a book together too!
    I have put together a dummy of ghost signs and I am waiting for feedback, And I have plenty other ideas buzzing around in my head, so watch this space.
    the good news is that Time Out have indeed asked me to do more articles, so hopefully that will forward the book(s).
    Publishing is such an awkward field.
    Any advice is welcome.
    Thanks again for the positive feedback,

  3. Hello

    I really hope you do get a book together. Not only would it be enjoyable but also a way of documenting London as it is now. So these photos would be a valuable resource for future generations.

    I do have an idea. Do you have a contact submission link on this page?

    I find myself looking at London in a bit more detail since viewing your work.

    Kind regards


  4. Peter,
    I'd love to hear your idea but I am not sure what you mean by 'contact submission link'. I have looked though all the available 'gadgets' one can add down the side of this blog and I am not sure which would apply. Please could you supply more info.
    Alternatively, you could set up a Free Flickr account and talk to me through Flickrmail.
    Or a third option would be that I promise to immediately delete any sensitive info you put in here.

  5. Hello

    Well it's not sensitive just thought you might want to keep it to yourself. I thought there might be a email link on the blog other than this 'Comment' thing.

    Anyway It might not be such a great idea or you have already thought of it, but you never know.

    I was going to suggest the Museum of London. I was wondering if there is a possibility they might put on a small display and of course to go with it they might be interested in publishing a book to go with it.

    I think what you have photographed is really important and another aspect of London that is very fairly omnipresent but sort camouflaged.


  6. Yes good idea, though I think I need to book first.
    Perhaps with more feedback such as yours from other people i may get this thing off the ground.
    I was in the museum a few weeks ago for the Shutting Up Shop exhibition in the foyer. If you missed it be sure to check out the book of the same name. Wonderful images and so sad that most of the shops are no longer around.
    And as for an email link... I might, I might not... my inbox is a nightmare as it is so i will need to set up another one for this vein.
    Thanks again,

  7. No I didn't see the Shutting Up Shop, actually haven't been there for a long time. Have been meaning to though.

    Oddly enough it takes me back to where this started wandering through Soho and taking a quick shot of the Sam Arkus shop and then Googling the name. It sort sort of looked quite sad and forgotten.

    Good luck



  8. I now have a designated email address set up
    It's at top right of the blog


Please note that comments are vetted by me personally to check for relevant content before they are published, so don't panic when your feedback isn't immediately visible.
If you write anything perceived to be an ad, spam or self promotion, your comment will be deleted and/or marked as spam/blocked.
Thanks, Jane