Sign Stories

Ghost sign histories and mysteries.

Exploring the Photography of the 1880s via a Greenwich Ghost Sign

Researching ghost signs is a very hit and miss affair, with dead ends fortunately offset by those that yield myriad clues and new paths to explore. This very faded piece on the wall of a residential property in South East London has been fascinating to investigate, taking me into the wonderful world of late-Victorian photography. …

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Alf the Purse King

“Among the restaurants and cafes that dominate today’s Stoke Newington Church Street in North London is a ghost sign representing both the industrial and Jewish heritage of the area. The proud proclamation of ‘Alf the Purse King’ (the ‘man bags’ of their day?) is fading gracefully, high up on the bricks of its host building. …

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F.W. Woolworth Co. and the Winston-Salem Sit-Ins

Absolutely fascinating investigation uncovering the historical connections between two glass signs for F.W. Woolworth Co. and the Winston-Salem sit-ins that played a major role in the American Civil Rights movement. (Watch on www.pbs.org here.) Hat tip to Meredith at the Pre-Vinylite Society for spotting this, and to PBS for creating the documentary.