RIP: Signwriters – Gilding & Pictorial Artists

This beautiful gilded script once marked the home of Ambridge Signs. When they left the premises the sign didn’t come with them and, until last month, it provided a reminder of the area’s signwriting heritage. It was situated on this unassuming building at the end of […]


Part of shop fascia lettering showing through blackwash

J.R.Brewer, the Butcher

I’d always noticed number 77 Shacklewell Lane because of the ghostsign below. Although very faint, it appears to advertise a business called/run by Grime. Below this was a blacked out shop fascia, overlooking the bus stop. Back in January I was cycling past and had […]


E.Mono in North London 1

Back in 2011 an old 1920s shop fascia was revealed on Kentish Town High Street. The nature of the E.Mono business remains a mystery but the new occupants, a kebab shop, decided the sign was worth keeping and named their shop after the historic proprietors. […]

E.Mono Shop Front

List of cities with branches of Dan Wuille & Co

Glasgow Ghostsigns Galore

I’ve been traveling a lot with work lately and was recently in Glasgow for a workshop. With a couple of hours to spare I looked up a few locations on the History of Advertising Trust Ghostsigns Archive and took to the streets. Here’s what I […]


Signs & Frescoes in Pompeii & Herculaneum 3

When I give talks on the history of signs painted on walls I often refer to their ancient history, going back at least as far as Roman times. Evidence for this comes from the ruins at Pompeii and Herculaneum as seen before on these photos […]

Painting on walls in Pompeii & Herculaneum

From The Western Neighborhoods Project: Ocean Beach. People posing atop dead whale
(Courtesy of a Private Collector)

Writing on the Whale and Other Novelties

Joe Thompson emailed me these fascinating photos of lettering on unusual objects, namely a dead whale (1919) and a shipwrecked oil tanker (1926). They are from San Francisco, recently donated to the Western Neighbourhoods Project. Read more about the photos and the project on SF […]


Restoration Period in the Monotype Recorder

Last year I was invited to contribute an article on ghostsigns to the reincarnation of the Monotype Recorder periodical. It focused on issues of protection and restoration which I have covered regularly on this blog and continue to maintain an active interest in. A couple […]

Restoration Period spread from Monotype Recorder


Ghostsigns on the Telly

I was invited by London Live to chat about ghostsigns and this is what they made. A slightly more extended written piece with the same video featured on the Independent.