13 Sep 2016

RIP: Black Cat Cigarettes

Black Cat Cigarettes, Dingley Road, London

I’m often asked what is my favourite ghostsign. There are many to choose from, but, since first discovering it in 2007, the Black Cat Cigarettes sign on Dingley Road in London is the one I usually go for. When giving my Top Ten London Ghostsigns to Londonist I said this about the sign:

“This is possibly the biggest ghostsign in London, but it’s not just the size that makes it my number one. The picture of the cat, modelled on that once found in the Carreras tobacco shop, is striking, especially with those eyes juxtaposed with the CCTV cameras. The price information adds to the historical value of the sign, which tells of the time when Clerkenwell was a centre of the global tobacco industry. Carreras moved their manufacturing to Greater London House in Mornington Crescent, famous for its Art Deco design and its own Egyptian-style black cats, perhaps a nod to this beauty.”

Now it is covered by a new high rise going up next door that will eventually eclipse its host building, and most of those nearby. I’m saddened to see the loss of this sign, although accepting of it. While this one has been lost, others have been revealed, including the Yager’s sign in Stamford Hill and, further afield, another for the same Black Cat brand. You win some, you lose some, you might say, although this loss will force me to review my next answer to the ‘what is your favourite ghostsign?’ question. RIP.

Construction site, May 2016
Construction site, September 2016
Detail showing how close new build will come to the sign
Detail showing price and name of the sign firm, ‘Harris the Sign King’
May 2016, the last photo I took of the full sign with construction just visible at the bottom

Subscribe to my newsletter for news, events and projects from the world of ghost signs. I curate the newsletter roughly monthly and welcome submissions.