Sam Roberts

Vortex Jazz Bar Stoke Newington

Vortex (RIP)

This sign and former Stoke Newington landmark were both destroyed in favour of a new development on Church Street.  The Jazz bar moved to Dalston in 2005, but 2007 saw an ongoing squat protest to stop the developers moving in. Despite some shocking luminous grafitti protesting against the possibility of Starbucks I was pleased to …

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BP Kings Cross Road Covered

BP (British Petrol) Revealed

This sign was partially covered for a long time but, just the other day, the modern poster was taken down revealing an old ad for British Petrol (BP) and some other ads faded behind but in a similar colour. The history of the logo indicates that this sign may well date from pre-1930.

Shop Local Dad's Hoxton

Shop Local

Not all Brickads are Ghost Signs and the most recent examples I know of are from artist Bob and Roberta Smith as part of his ‘Shop Local’ campaign at Peer Gallery.  This involved bringing together artists and sign writers to recreate the old style of advertising on behalf of local Hoxton businesses. This photo is …

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Hovis Van Painting Directions

Hovis Process

Also on my visit to HAT I found this nice example of how big companies got the consistency of style across the country.  It is some directions issued by Hovis as to how the back of a bread van should be painted. In a 1952 Association of National Advertisers (USA) book there is a reference …

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Boots Camden High Street


This sign is clearly visible from Camden Town tube station as you look up Camden High Street towards Mornington Crescent. You wouldn’t see it if you were in a car or on a bike because of the one way streets, but on foot it catches your eye immediately. I spotted it while I was with …

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Watneys Competition Entries

Watneys Competition

Further to the post on Watneys Wall here are a couple of pictures showing how the competition was run. Above is the sign that was displayed in bars to encourage entries for a prize of £50, and below a picture from the article in the January 1938 ‘The Poster’ showing the 40,000 entires being dealt …

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Time Out Ghostsigns Feature

Ghost Signs in Time Out

Two weeks after their feature on disappearing London, Time Out published three of my pictures in their magazine (8-15th November 2006). Thanks to Gabriel who took the scan of the page for me. My three pictures are the three along the bottom, although I also have shoots of the Bovril one in Brixton and the …

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Bile Beans York

Bile Beans

Speaking yesterday with a guy writing his dissertation on the preservation of Ghost Signs I heard about this iconic example from York for Bile Beans. According to my contact it was restored by the York Arts Forum in 1986 just at the same time as the product was being discontinued by the manufacturer. However, despite …

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Watneys Wall poster

Watneys Wall

Yesterday I visited the History of Advertising Trust (HAT). I came across a funny old poster for Watney’s Ale.  It was a parody of the painted ad format and of painted political slogans and was done in 1938 by an advertising agency called Horrocks and Company. This picture from the October 1938 edition of ‘The …

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Watermans Ideal Fountain Pen

Welcome to Ghost Signs

This is my first venture into blogging and so I thought an intro post might be worthwhile.I will be updating with new discoveries all the time but here’s a nice opener of the sign that inspired me. It is in Stoke Newington and from an age when people actually got their fountain pens repaired! December …

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