Sam Roberts


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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When did old painted signs on walls become known as ‘ghost’ signs, and who coined the phrase? These questions crop up often in my discussions with others, and on my tours, and I always have to hold my hand up and say I didn’t invent […]

Tracing the Origins of ‘Ghost’ Signs



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 ...


Restoration Period spread from 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 in the Monotype Recorder




This weekend I’m bringing a collection of original painted signs from Kratie, Cambodia, and photography of others across the country to A.S. Handover in Stoke Newington, London. The exhibition is completely free and I’ll be there all weekend to discuss the material and sign copies […]

Signs of Cambodia: Free London Exhibition



Londonist Out Loud Logo
I took N Quentin Woolf of Londonist Out Loud on a portion of my Ghostsigns Walking Tour in Stoke Newington. The result is this podcast (here on itunes, and here on Londonist) which we managed to record despite the myriad noises and distractions on the […]

Ghostsigns on Londonist Out Loud



Small plaque for Pickering & Mayell 1
On 21 May, before my Type Talk at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, I helped lead a walk through the city’s historic Jewellery Quarter. This was in collaboration with Geraldine Marshall of the Birmingham Graphic DNA Project, and focused on the ghostsigns and public […]

Ghostsigns and Public Lettering in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter


Fading shop fascia for F.C.Osborn Bookseller 1
This beautiful shop fascia was recently revealed on Dalston Lane, Hackney, London, as part of renovations to the shop by a new tenant. (Thanks Bryce for tipping me off!). The following photos show some of the detail of this sign for F.C.Osborn, Bookseller, who occupied […]

F.C. Osborn and the Fading Fascias




Painted sign on a wall in Deal, Kent, for Henry Dunn's furniture shop
This mid-1800s photograph shows a painted sign on the wall in Deal, Kent, advertising Henry Dunn and his various trades of cabinet maker, upholsterer, paper hanger, undertaker, broker and more. Born in 1818, Henry Dunn is my Great Great Great Grandfather, so I was chuffed […]

Ghostsigns in the Family: Henry Dunn of Deal


Sam Roberts presenting at St Bride Institute
[If you can’t view to show above, visit it here on the MyPlick site.] Judging by the ‘tweetback’ (see below), last month’s illustrated talk, ‘Ghostsigns at St Bride‘, was well received. Zoë Chan of überbaby also posted a review following previews in Creative Review and […]

Highlights from Ghostsigns at St Bride


Painted sign, fading on a wall in Nicaragua
While preparing for Wednesday’s talk at St Bride I rediscovered this in an old photo album from my 1998 travels in Central America. It is from Nicaragua, celebrating 1 May, International Workers’ Day. I believe this may be my first ever ghostsign photo, predating the fountain […]

My first Ghostsign, from Nicaragua