Signs in Media

Books, articles and video relating to ghost signs.


Absolutely fascinating investigation uncovering the historical connections between two glass signs for F.W. Woolworth Co. and the Winston-Salem sit-ins that played a major role in the American Civil Rights movement. (Watch on www.pbs.org here.) Hat tip to Meredith at the Pre-Vinylite Society for spotting this, […]

F.W. Woolworth Co. and the Winston-Salem Sit-Ins


There is one week left to back the printing of a brand new publication that will be of interest to all those interested in hand-painted signs (old and new), art, design, architecture, and the intersections of all these. One of the articles inside will be […]

Introducing the Pre-Vinylite Society Journal


My father-in-law discovered this astonishing collection of high quality photography showing the high street in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, in 1888. They were photographed by Joseph Lewis della-Porta who came from a retailing family and had the foresight to document these images which convey so much of […]

Shropshire Shop Fronts of the 1880s



Continuing the occassional exploration of ‘ancient’ signs, I was thrilled to hear of this evidence that Neanderthals were busy painting the walls of caves across Spain. This species, almost dubbed Homo Stupidus (yes, stupid man!), were not previously known for this type of cultural activity, […]

64,000-Year-Old Neanderthal Cave Paintings


[This book review is reposted from the original on the Better Letters blog.] “Signwriters are entitled to their immortality just as are other artists and craftsmen” – Kevin Corrigan Kearns, Dublin’s Vanishing Craftsmen Signwriting is perhaps the least documented of the lettering disciplines; it’s nature […]

Karl Blaschke: The Sign Man of Munich


The list below of painted advertisements in Islington was compiled in the hope that some of those reading it might write in with additional locations not known to the compiler, and in the belief that painted advertisements in other parts of London would make a […]

Painted Advertisements in Islington: Part 4



The list below of painted advertisements in Islington was compiled in the hope that some of those reading it might write in with additional locations not known to the compiler, and in the belief that painted advertisements in other parts of London would make a […]

Painted Advertisements in Islington: Part 3


The list below of painted advertisements in Islington was compiled in the hope that some of those reading it might write in with additional locations not known to the compiler, and in the belief that painted advertisements in other parts of London would make a […]

Painted Advertisements in Islington: Part 2




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Back in March last year I had the pleasure of taking two groups from Melbourne’s RMIT on my Stoke Newington Ghostsigns Walk. This was the second time I’ve worked with the University on their special European study tour and, again, it was a really enjoyable […]

On Tour with Albani Calusin and RMIT



Simon Memel sent me a link to this article on Dezeen by Owen Hatherley about an odd thing that has just happened on Walthamstow High Street. The council has funded the standardisation of shop front signage, leading to the loss of shops’ individual character. I […]

Cookie Cutter Shops on Walthamstow High Street



Over the years I’ve tried to seek out and review books about ghost signs here on the blog. Here is a set of recommendations drawn from these, focused on those in English. In a future blog post I’ll feature work published in other languages. 1 […]

Five of the Best: Books about Ghost Signs


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This ghost sign for the London Co-Operative Society on Frederic Street, London E17, has now been partially covered by new signage for the Still Bar and Restaurant. In addition, the last visible portion of the sign, a small strip on the right, has been painted […]

RIP: London Co-Op, Frederic Street





Fading Ads of Gloucester extends the current series from the History Press in the UK, USA, and Ireland. The material has been researched and gathered by Chris West, graphic designer for the publisher. The format of the titles in the series varies but this one […]

Fading Ads of Gloucester by Chris West


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On one of my recent Bankside Ghostsigns Walks an Australian guest tipped me off about the recent restoration of a famous Dingo Flour ghost sign in Fremantle, Australia. This was undertaken at the end of 2016 with a grant from the Western Australian Heritage Council. […]

Dingo Flour Restoration in Fremantle Australia




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I am conducting a small investigation into the ghostsigns of Islington and am appealing for help from readers of this blog. The map below (view full screen) will form the basis for this, in the context of the following notes. Recently while going through old […]

Painted Advertisements in Islington: Part 1




Advertising & Public Memory is the first scholarly book focused on ghostsigns. It was a labour of love across much of 2015, work that included editing others’ work, as well as contributing to some of the writing inside, notably an attempt to answer the question […]

Advertising & Public Memory: Social, Cultural and Historical Perspectives on ...



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One month ago I attended the launch of Ghostletters Vienna at the Wien Museum in Austria’s capital city. The book was conceived, written and produced by Tom Koch, alongside photographers Daniel Gerersdorfer and Stephan Doleschal. It got off the ground with two crowdsourcing efforts, one […]

Ghostsigns & Ghostletters of Vienna