Sunday, 24 June 2018

Ghost signs (134): Reigate

Visiting Reigate for its caves, I also found all sorts of ghost signs. Some were in the cave system, some around it, and others unconnected. This post is using a liberal definition: not all are the classic ghost sign painted onto brick or stone, but are all worth a mention here. 


This one may be my favourite: a sort of double layer of ghostliness. The Market Stores are still a pub, but not a 'billiard saloon'. And certainly not ... well, whatever word has been wholly obliterated at the top of this sign. 


The pub was handily placed for the neighbouring Tunnel Caves, which were used at some points to store beer and wine. Indeed, the caves on the other side of the road were dug specifically for that purpose. The sign for Tunnel Vaults still stands out proudly. 


No canny trader would miss a chance to advertise, even if it was on an air vent!



Now a museum, the Tunnel Caves contain a few ghost signs of their own, albeit on enamel. 


They were repurposed as air raid shelters during the Second World War. A very faded sign faintly exhorts visitors to carry their gas masks, as the tunnel doors were not gas-proof. 


A walk from these to the Barons Caves takes us past the former premises of shoe shop Freeman Hardy & Wills, still commemmorated in this fine doorstep mosaic. 


And our final ghost sign is at the entrance to the Barons Caves: a reminder that they have long been a visitor attraction, even if the arrangements for visitors (and admission fee) have changed.




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