20 Apr 2022

Ice Cream for Health, says J. Boni in Edinburgh

“Ice Cream for Health” says this c1930s ghost sign for J. Boni’s ice cream parlour in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was revealed In 2017 on the business’ former premises, proclaiming the health benefits of the company’s frozen product—try getting that past advertising standards today!

Fading painted sign promoting J. Boni's Ice Cream "for health".
J. Boni’s ice cream parlour sign in Edinburgh. Photo: Tom Firzgerald, June 2017.

The works that revealed the sign were for the conversion of the corner premises to the Trenchtown Caribbean Social Club. In their wisdom they kept the J. Boni ghost sign in situ, although the bright turquoise tiles took away the subtleties in the shape of the frame, top and bottom. (Interestingly, streetview captures the moment after the earlier panelling was ripped off, but before the sign itself was revealed.)

Fading painted sign promoting J. Boni's Ice Cream "for health".
Following conversion to the Trenchtown Caribbean Social Club, with tiles encroaching top and bottom. Photo: Tom Fitzgerald, October 2017.

It seems that the Boni ice cream business was well-loved in Edinburgh, and Edinburgh News has a set of photos of people enjoying the ‘healthy’ goods for sale. These include this shot which shows that at some point Mr Boni’s (as it was then known) covered the vintage hand-painted sign.

Glass-fronted entrance to an ice cream parlour.
Mr Boni’s in 1979. Photo: Bill Stout.
Side by side comparison of the fading ice cream sign.
J. Boni’s ghost sign in Edinburgh before and after the tiling for Trenchtown Caribbean Social Club. Photos: Tom Fitzgerald, 2017.

With thanks to Tom Fitzgerald for sharing these photos from 2017.

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