28 Sep 2020

Alf the Purse King

Alf the Purse King (A. Rubinstein), Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16

“Among the restaurants and cafes that dominate today’s Stoke Newington Church Street in North London is a ghost sign representing both the industrial and Jewish heritage of the area. The proud proclamation of ‘Alf the Purse King’ (the ‘man bags’ of their day?) is fading gracefully, high up on the bricks of its host building.

Although he was only present on the street during the 1920s, the story of the man behind the sign stretches much further, from the East End’s Petticoat Lane to Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, and over a period of 120 years or so.

In this paper, supported by the diligent research of Faith Carpenter, the story of the man and the business will be told, building significantly on the material usually shared on the Stoke Newington Ghostsigns Walk.”

Alf the Purse King by Sam Roberts & Faith Carpenter

The above is the introduction to the attached paper which gives an example of the longer-form content that I’d like to start developing within the context of this Patreon page. The article investigates a single sign, whereas others could look at particular locations, advertisers, or general themes that apply across the whole family of ghost signs. I’m thinking that writing 3–4 of these each year would eventually build into quite a nice collection of work.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the piece which was engrossing to research and write. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and do hit the ‘like’ button to give us a little endorphin hit or two 🙂

All good things, Sam

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