The Enduring Legacy of the Joshua Brothers Distillery

Pickles Street in Melbourne was once home to the Joshua Brothers Distillery, and later United Distillers. The latter adorned the building with a series of painted bottles depicting the products that they distributed in Australia. The pieces were painted in the 1960s by signwriter Keith Martin and are wonderfully detailed pieces, reminiscent of Colossal Media’s “photo real” work. After their appearance on Instagram, photographer @oldsignpotter kindly shared these photos. There are lots more, and further historical context available on this excellent post from Melbourne Circle.

What is wonderful here is the sensitivity of the developers to the building and the visually rich history present on its walls. Rather than obliterate this, they have opted to integrate it into the transformation of the building into residential premises. It goes to show that (re)development doesn’t have to mark the end for ghost signs, and that repainting isn’t necessary to ‘smarten up’ the areas in which they are found. Bravo!

PS. These bottles reminded me of the first image on this page, from the Netherlands.