Wonderful as photographs of ghost signs are, there's nothing like seeing them in real life. One of the best places to do so is Stoke Newington, which has London's finest concentration of signs, and the best guide is Sam Roberts, founder of the ghost signs archive. Happily, he is now offering guided tours of the area's ghost signs, and I was fortunate to try one last week.
The walk doesn't only take you to some wonderful signs. It also introduces you to all the key features: palimpsests, deciphering wording, famous brands of the past, and the sadness of lost signs. The fascinating hour-and-a-half walk ends, as the best walks do, in the pub. Even a sudden rainstorm hadn't dampened our enthusiasm!
I'd definitely recommend this exploration of ghost signs in their natural habitat. There are walks coming up in the next three months - a perfect seasonal present!