19 Feb 2014

D. Appell Fascia Revealed by the Valentine’s Day Storm

Hand-painted shop fascia for D.Appell

Ghostsigns are regularly revealed by property development and the updating or removal of billboards. This is the first instance I’ve come across of the weather, in this case the wind, leading to a shop fascia becoming visible once again. The ‘Valentine’s Day Storm’ last Friday ripped the Roti Stop sign off this corner building, leaving this incredibly well preserved sign for D. Appell. It can currently be seen at 36b Stamford Hill.

Hand-painted shop fascia for D.Appell

It was a very pleasant surprise to see the sign which is in plain view of the meeting point for my Ghostsigns Walking Tours in Stoke Newington. On Saturday morning I was leading one of these walks for The Hackney Society. In the notes that I send out to all guests before the tour I ask them to try to spot a ghostsign that can be seen from the meeting point. On this occasion they had two to choose from, this one being added to the one I usually refer to the previous night.

I posted a photo of the sign to the Ghostsigns Facebook Page earlier this week and it proved very popular. In the comments Peter Hardwicke stated that ‘It’s got a just ‘Post WW2′ feel to it…in my opinion’. Research at the Hackney Archives proves him to be spot on. David Appell, greengrocer, first appears in these premises in 1945 and, 10 years later, Dennis Appell takes over. Apart from Messrs Appell and Appell having an (almost) apt name for their line of work, they were also fortunate to share a first initial so that when the business changed hands there was no need to repaint the sign. Dennis kept things going for five more years until 1960 when he vacated these premises.

In the photo below you can see some of the fixings that once mounted a large bill board to the chamferred wall directly above the revealed sign. Brand advertising can be seen on archival photos of the location taken in 1971, but by 1975 it appears the same as it is today. All in all this has been an intriguing and fun discovery resulting from an unusual impact of the weather on a painted sign. If you have any more information to add then please do so in the comments below.

Hand-painted shop fascia for D.Appell

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