My recent holiday began in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, and how better to get in the holiday mood than with an assortment of ghost signs? Perhaps the finest was this Esso example, which has traces of logos as well as the brand names Esso and Essolube. Above the former is 'Pratts', perhaps the name of a local garage or - judging by this link - possibly an earlier sign showing through. There is further writing at the bottom, now more or less indecipherable. It appears to say something along the lines of 'When you buy ...'
Less colourful, but more legible, are signs for local businesses. Simplest is W D Old, Painter, Decorator, although further online research shows that there was originally more text visible.
Arthur Thompson, auctioneer, valuer and estate agent, was established in 1866. The green of his sign still contrasts pleasingly with the red brick. Since the firm became Arthur Thompson and March in 1949, this sign may well be pre-war.
Near MacDonald's, Watson and Son Ltd advertise as 'plumbers, glaziers, glass' although the words are now faint and flaking. The business, according to online directories, continues to trade - but has presumably switched to other forms of advertising.
In an alley just off the main shopping centre is a reminder of the Second World War. As in London, painted directions guided people to public air raid shelters. Here, the 'ARP shelter for 367 persons' was in cellars under several local shops. Today the sign is unnoticed - I wouldn't have found it had I not happened across it on Hidden Teesside.
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