Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Ghost signs (103): Earlsfield

Just opposite Earlsfield Station in South-West London, two ghost signs are almost facing each other. 


The first is extremely cryptic: only "S.P.O. &" remain visible. (The apparent tail turning the O into a Q is a trace of another sign, in darker paint, now illegible.) My first guess was that SPO stands for sub-post office, but a photograph of 1915 makes that unlikely. The full sign is visible (meaning it's close to a century old), and the wording is "SPO & Dining Rooms". The business underneath is A Martin Dining Rooms, with no postal services in sight. One mystery is solved, but another remains!

This sign does have a bonus feature, though. Above the ghost sign itself is a red-brick diamond, containing a stone inscribed 'Erected by J Doerr. H Boulter builder 1880.'


Diagonally across the road is another sign, equally intriguing. Only the left half of it remains - but there is no obvious reason why this part should have survived while the rest completely disappeared. One possibility is that a billboard or sign was placed onto the wall, covering part of the painting underneath. 


What remains reads 'B J B... Pawn... Genera... Also at 2...'. We can guess that B J B... was a pawnbroker, and also engaged in general something-or-other, with two shops. Sadly, the full wording remains a mystery.



7 comments:

Sam Roberts (Ghostsigns) said...

Intriguing, will post to Facebook and see if anyone can help with the second mystery.

CarolineLD said...

Thank you, that would be great.

Ralph Hancock said...

Do you think that SPO might stand for 'senior parish officer', the person in the parish who was responsible for poor relief, indicating that this place was a kind of food bank? That would accord with a secondary function as 'dining rooms'.

HughB said...

SPO, eh? Well, it's too small for a meeting of the Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Srpski Pokret Obnove (Serbian Renewal Movement) wasn't created until 1990, so I opt for an exiled branch of the Sociedade Portuguesa de Ovnilogia (Portuguese Society for Research and Communication of Knowledge concerning UFO).
Don't the streets look wide without all the cars blocking them as they do today?

HughB said...

I meant to say, the people in the street look as though they've all turned out to stare at a flying saucer, which would seem to confirm my theories about a UFO society.

Ralph Hancock said...

There is another kind of ghost sign, a modern one, in the last picture: 'Amaranth / Thai Restaurant & ...' and the rest is screw holes. Another photograph here (click on circular picture to enlarge)shows that the missing words are 'Noodle Bar', but that they have been deleted only on the frontage in the side street, not on that in the main road. Possibly the establishment was caught by the photographer in the act of denoodling itself.

Alex mills said...

Was just looking at this today and rather sad that it's fading fast and now has a satellite disc in front of it. SPO means Sub Post Office xxx

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