Spitalfields Ghostsigns from Philip Marriage


Ghostsigns palimpsests at Brick Lane and Princelet Street. Photo: Philip Marriage.

Ghostsigns palimpsests at Brick Lane and Princelet Street. Photo: Philip Marriage.

Philip Marriage recently sent me this photo of these perpendicular palimpsests at the junction of Brick Lane and Princelet Street. He was trying to work out what they say. This followed his question about the location of another Spitalfields ghostsign which followers on Twitter and Facebook were able to track down to Hanbury Street. I therefore put it out again on social media and got some well-informed responses which, in addition to Philip’s own additional research, have allowed the two layers to be teased apart as:

  • Layer 1: D.Lewis,Electrical Contractor, Lighting, Heating, & Power Bi…
  • Layer 2: Bernard’s Men’s Hosier & Hatter
Photo: LCC Photograph Library. Section: London Metropolitan Archives. Catalogue No: SC_PHL_01_381_76_11298. Collage Record No: 117035.

Photo: LCC Photograph Library. Section: London Metropolitan Archives. Catalogue No: SC_PHL_01_381_76_11298. Collage Record No: 117035.

In his own research Philip came across this 1976 image in the Collage collection, which shows the D.Lewis layer a bit more clearly. (NB. The Collage collection features over 250,000 images across London, which are now all plotted on a convenient map.)

Post Script

Philip also share a recent photo of a piece of signage on Crispin Street, which he had photographed in his previous travels to the area. I’ve included it here because of its reference to the paints on sale, which may well have been purchased here to paint the sign above…

Oil Colour & General Produce Merchants, Crispin Street. Photo: Philip Marriage.

Oil Colour & General Produce Merchants, Crispin Street. Photo: Philip Marriage.

And for a measure of how much the area has changed in the last 30 years or so, here’s a contemporary comparative view.

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