8 Feb 2021
Waygoods’ Broken Glass, West Norwood
This ghost sign in West Norwood had always caught my eye given its unusual execution across two windows and the wall between them. I’ve now done some digging and discovered some of the story behind Waygoods’ broken glass, Norwood Road.
The Waygood Brothers, later registered as Waygood Radiovision Ltd, were dealers in radio components. They were operating elsewhere from the mid-1930s and set up here c.1939. In the early 1940s they had three shops, including this one, and others at 12 Camberwell Road and 112 Lambeth Walk.
The detailed copy on the sign, including a small privilege* for Denco radio components, is painted onto blacked-out windows and the whole composition was later covered, and protected, by a billboard. It was revealed again in the mid-2010s and the bottom right window pane, which also gave the signwriter’s phone number, was smashed c.2016. See current Streetview.
The corner of Norwood Road and Chatsworth Way that the shop occupied can be seen in Suburban Weekend, an amateur film by Ronald A. Yeatman, recorded in the mid- to late-1940s, and available to UK viewers via the BFI website. This shows the surviving sign, including a top-left panel which is missing in contemporary photographs, and the ‘No Parking’ sign just to the right. It also reveals that there was once a large wall sign immediately above the shopfront, facing Chatsworth Way, featuring what looks to be a Christmas tree motif of some description.
Although the Waygood company was struck off in 1978, it has since been re-born as Goodways Electronics (geddit?), offering TV and other repair services just around the corner in a converted garage on Dalton Street. A small claim to fame for current owner John is that he once sold a kettle to 1970s TV personality Keith Chegwin!
The one small mystery that remains in the context of this sign is who the original Waygood brothers were. One looks to have been Arthur Waygood, but so far I’ve only been able to find one brother of his, George Ralph Waygood, born in 1906 and long-time employed as an accountant. As always, do get in touch if you know or can find out more.
*A privilege in the context of signs is the presence of a larger, usually manufacturing, brand on the premises of a retailer where their products are available. In contemporary retail the most common examples are newsagents where the shop name is often flanked by logos for newspaper or confectionery brands.
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