Saturday 14 June 2008

Ghost signs

One of my current obsessions is with "ghost signs": advertisements which were painted on walls from the nineteenth century to the 1960s, some of which still survive. In fact, there's one more or less opposite the end of my road. A huge amount of information about these, complete with photographs, is on the amazing ghost signs blog.

Taking some photos has been on my list of things to do for a long time, but I've finally started getting on with it. And none too soon: after surviving for so many years the adverts can still disappear overnight. So I was glad to have taken this photo of S Wood & Son's Hare and Hounds Garage sign on Upper Street, N1 before the new owners painted their own name onto it. My feelings about that are mixed: on the one hand, something (albeit a faded, patchy something) has been lost. On the other, it's great to see that people still bother to paint these signs, and there has been a real effort to match the original style. Above all, this has to be infinitely better than simply whitewashing over it.

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