Ghost Signs: A London Story

Ghost Signs: A London Story by Sam Roberts and Roy Reed

About the Book

Ghost signs are fascinating pieces of urban archaeology. Imposing yet hidden in plain sight, these faded advertisements are London’s history written on to the contemporary cityscape. They reveal fascinating stories of everyday life in the capital and each sign has its own tale to tell – not just of the business it represents and the people behind it, but of its own improbably survival.

A feast of history, typography and the urban environment, Ghost Signs: A London Story showcases London’s most impressive and historically significant faded painted signs, located, photographed and presented with archival andother contextual images.

Introduced by Wayne Hemingway MBE, the opening section shares insights into topics such as production techniques, economics and preservation. The themed chapters take on subjects including building, clothing, entertaining, branding and, ultimately, burying the city.

  • ISBN: 978-0-9954886-9-4
  • Published in October 2021 by Isola Press
  • 255 × 195mm portrait
  • 320pp
  • 350< photos
  • 40,000< words

Buy the Book

Ghost Signs: A London Story is available to order directly from the publisher’s web shop.

You can encourage your local bookshop to stock the book by placing an order using ISBN 978-0995488694.

The book is also available via: Better Letters; Waterstones; Amazon UK; Amazon USA; Amazon Australia; Amazon Canada; Amazon France; Amazon Germany; Amazon India; Amazon Italy; Amazon Japan; Amazon Netherlands; Amazon Spain.

Explore the Map

In addition to the 250+ ghost signs in the book, we have created an accompanying google map with over 750 in total. This includes a number of suggested itineraries where groups of signs can be seen along a walking route.

Take a Tour

Audiovisual tours are available for walking routes in Clapham (free), Bankside and Stoke Newington. These feature much of the material from the book, but also other ghost signs that there wasn’t space for inside. Each walk includes about 20 stops, complimented by the stories of the signs alongside archival and other contextual images. For those unable to reach London they can be enjoyed as an ‘armchair’ experience using the google streetview links and contemporary photography included. Find out more…

Watch the Launch Video

We officially launched the book at an online zoom event on 15 November 2021. This is the recording.

Look Inside