[28 July 2015 – This post updated with new images and comments below]
This stunning reveal in Clacton-on-Sea in Essex features three ghostsigns. In sequence these are for Ambrosia, Black Cat Cigarettes and a tea rooms, captured here by Ed Loach. Their appearance has caught the eye of many locals, with calls for their protection already being made.
The copy on this one for Ambrosia, a brand I’ve not come across in ghostsigns form before, is lovely: “Ambrosia Devonshire Full Cream Milk Chocolate. The Glory of Devon in a Packet”. What more could you ask for?
This one for Black Cat Cigarettes will ring a bell with those who know it’s famous cousin in Clerkenwell. The wooden frame slightly obscures the date in the slogan, but closer inspection suggests that this is likely a ‘2’, and hence ‘1924’. [Correction, 28 July 2015: See updated images below showing removal of obstruction and date as 1904.]
The Carreras factory where these cigarettes were made moved to its purpose-built home in Mornington Crescent in 1928. The date on this new sign states that the brand was already “in public favour” while at its former home on City Road, having originally been established 20 years earlier in 1904.
This tea rooms sign is barely visible at the top, where the name would likely have appeared. It is quite possible that the entire panel is a form of privilege advertising, with both the Ambrosia and Black Cat products available within the tea shop. It also looks as though there may have been another sign in black lettering, note the ‘B’ shape to the left of the Ambrosia wording.
Thank you to Ed Loach for the photos and everyone else that got in touch via Twitter and email to share this remarkable discovery. Please keep more details coming as the story unfolds in the comments below.
[28 July 2015 Update]
The campaign to save the sign has enjoyed a first success with the billboard owners JCDecaux saying they aren’t replacing the hoardings that previously covered the signs. However, this BBC report on the topic also states that they were ‘unable to contact the owner of the building’. This will be the key player in the ultimate fate of these signs.
Neil Edwards has kindly shared these photos via Facebook, showing the sign now that the full structure of the previous hoarding have been removed.