Ghosts of London’s Wayfinding Past in this New Book

Berners Place, W1 from London Street Signs © Alistair Hall

At one time many of London’s street signs were painted by hand. The ongoing maintenance required meant that this production method wasn’t viable in the long-term and it was superceded by more durable forms. However, there many that have survived as ghost signs, with some being maintained to this day, although with varying degres of quality.

This topic is discussed with two dozen examples in one section of Alistair Hall’s new book London Street Signs: A visual history of London’s street nameplates. Another section concerns itself with the surviving remnants of the lost NE postcode which kindly references my own work on this subject.

I have reviewed the book more fully here on sister site Better Letters. It is a fabulous publication, and should be of interest to anyone that likes ghost signs. Please order from your local bookshop (UK and USA). There are additional purchasing links here.

Below are some more of Alistair’s photos, some pages from the book, and then a handful of my own photos of painted street signs in London.

Benhams Place 1813 from London Street Signs © Alistair Hall
Council of Acton Railway Cottages from London Street Signs © Alistair Hall
Crabtree Lane, SW6 from London Street Signs © Alistair Hall
Holly Hill, NW3 from London Street Signs © Alistair Hall
Martello Street, E8 from London Street Signs © Alistair Hall
Wardour Mews, W from London Street Signs © Alistair Hall
Woodside Lane, N12 from London Street Signs © Alistair Hall
Pages 30–1 from London Street Signs by Alistair Hall
Pages 60–1 from London Street Signs by Alistair Hall
Pages 106–7 from London Street Signs by Alistair Hall
Contents from London Street Signs by Alistair Hall
Cover of London Street Signs by Alistair Hall

Some of own London street sign photos