7 Sep 2018

Recycling & Rearranging Ghost Signs

Photo: Al Briggs (Melbourne)

The above fragment of a ghost sign was revealed by the demolition of the adjascent building in Melbourne in 2014, as documented by Al Briggs at RMIT

“The majority of existing ghost signs that remain in suburban Melbourne are signs that were originally painted on the side walls of our Milk Bars – local shops on residential streets that sold milk, newspapers and basic groceries. Many of them used to have a residence at the back, with the small shop out the front, and have now been converted to houses only. The wall pictures attached are from one that was demolished and rebuilt. The first pic is the before shot – the sign was only revealed when they removed the concrete cladding as part of the demolition, so it was only visible for one day. I spoke to the builders, and they assured me that they would be retaining the original signage from the front of the shop as part of the renovation, but that they weren’t able to keep the signs on the side walls.”

Photo: Al Briggs (Melbourne)

“What they did do, however, was re-use the original bricks when they rebuilt the wall, so if you look carefully in the second image, you can still see the remnants of the old painted signs on several of the bricks (there was originally some signage on the opposite wall as well (green and orange), but I don’t have a photo of it).


So while the new wall may not exactly qualify as being a ghost sign, I do still get a kick out of the fact that you can still see parts of the signs if you look carefully (the green and orange bricks in particular still have some of the basic type elements).”

Concurrent with Al sending me these pictures, I had added a photo on Twitter to my favourites as it exhibits more explicitly the process described above, this time within the architecture of a church (Grote of Lebuinuskerk) in Deventer, Holland. I would love to see any more examples of this rearranging and recycling of ghost signs so please send through or provide a link in the comments below.

(In a related area, these ‘reversed’ ghost signs should also be of interest.)

Photo: The Lights (Deventer, Holland)

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