Literary London


Literary London Ghostsigns Presentation

Today Sebastian Groes and I presented a session on Ghost Signs to c.40 international delegates at the Literary London conference.  This is an event run by the Literary London journal and the key focus this year was representations of London in literature.

Despite some technical difficulties early on we eventually got the projector working, albeit with a slight tent effect (see picture).

Following a brief introduction from Sebastian, I talked through some bacground on the history of Ghost Signs, how they were produced and the different types that can be found. I then discussesd some of those that I’ve researched to reveal the stories behind them, including Gillette, Peterkin’s, Black Cat Cigarettes and Hovis.

Sebastian then went on to talk about some interpretations of the signs and their presence in London. These included observations on their relationship to modes of transport, their being a means through which to observe the city, and their place in London’s development during the imperial era. He also threw in a few observations on my own obsession with Ghost Sign ‘hunting’.

The audience seemed to find it all quite interesting and there were some good questions at the end, including one on the relationship between Ghost Signs and mounted pub signage, and another on what links might be found between signs and the ethnic make up of particular parts of London.

Thank you to Sebastian and the conference organisers for providing the opportunity to speak. I presume there will be another conference next year so keep an eye on the Literary London site for details.

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