21 Jun 2021

Sign for the Signs: Two Petitions from Canada and Wimbledon

Following the last post about the Fry’s Cocoa crowdfunder in Bristol, two related petitions have come my way which I thought would be interesting to share. They differ in their objectives, but are alike in their broad thrust of seeking to protect and preserve old signs.

Super Servis Shoe Rebuilders, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Photo: John Rennison / The Hamilton Spectator.

Super Servis Shoe Rebuilders

First up is a recently revealed painted wall sign in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. This is threatened by the planned demolition of the building and 100 of its neighbours to facilitate the construction of a new light railway. The petition was created by Devyn Thomson who includes the following historical notes on the campaign page:

“Super Servis Shoe Rebuilders dates back to 1923 in the Hamilton Archives Directory, while  the building was built in 1910. The shoe business had other locations in Hamilton but this sign is the last visible remnant. This sign is in excellent vibrant condition after being covered for 90 years and displays a great example of commercial heritage in Hamilton. The creator of the sign was Fred T. Brooks, Hamilton businessman/artist and ward alderman. He specialized in sign making and was the first in Hamilton to manufacture electric signs.”

Devyn Thomson
1926 advertisement for Fred T. Brooks, the sign painter responsible for painting the Super Servis Shoe Rebuilder sign.

I signed the petition and shared on Twitter, and received the following reply.

“They could always save the full brick wall panel and reset it at street level as a tribute. Don’t let builders tell you otherwise – it is possible to remove it in whole.”

There are echoes of when a landlord tried to sell me a ghost sign off the wall of his building. Something similar achieved with the Mail Pouch barn sign salvaged by the American Sign Museum, albeit with wood rather than brick.

Wimbledon Chase Co-Op

Next is a mosaic sign that has been revealed during the replacement of modern signage on what is still a Co-Op store.

Wimbledon Chase mosaic Co-Op sign revealed while replacing modern shop signs.

The petition has been started by the local Liberal Democrats political party who are calling for the ‘restoration’ of the sign. This is perhaps slightly misleading as the sign is in very good condition and probably only needs a little light cleaning to bring it ‘back to new.’ However, the campaign’s focus is essentially directed towards having it left in situ and not re-covered as intended by the management of the shop.

As with the Fry’s Cocoa fundraiser, I’ll be interested to see how these two campaigns pan out and have added my signature to both. If you are also inclined to do so then it’s here for the painted Hamilton sign and here for the mosaic sign in Wimbledon.

Post Script

After drafting this last week I heard over the weekend that the Wimbledon Chase Co-Op mosaic sign will be left in situ. To what extent the petition played a role in this I don’t know, but here’s a wider-angle photo from Emma Shepley which shows some more of the lettering.

Wimbledon Chase mosaic Co-Op sign. Photo: Emma Shepley.

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