14 Jun 2021

Fundraising to Repaint Fry’s Cocoa Ghost Sign

A woman in Bristol whose house hosts a wonderful ghost sign for Fry’s Cocoa is crowdfunding to have it repainted. I’ve seen similar campaigns enjoy success in America, but this is the first time I’ve come across one in the UK.

Fry’s Cocoa, Fraser Street, Bristol BS3 [Map]

I’ve previously shared my wider thoughts on repainting ghost signs and, should the work go ahead, this wall will present a case study in dealing with palimpsests. In her video she makes it clear that she’s aware of the additional layers, and has opted to focus on the most visible. This is a logical approach, but requires the over-painting of what appear to be earlier iterations of the Fry’s sign. I could see this as a future moral maze question, “Is it right to destroy two signs, to ‘save’ one?”

I’m intrigued to see how it ends and if you are interested in supporting the campaign then the gofundme is here. There’s also an article with some history of the company.

2009 photo by Aztec West, courtesy of the History of Advertising Trust Ghostsigns Archive

PS. Comparing the two photos taken 12 years apart (2009 and 2021) it doesn’t seem that there has been substantial change to the condition of the sign over that time. It faces Northeast, and for many months of the year looks to be shaded by the trees in front. These would both help to explain this general lack of decay.

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