Monday, 18 October 2010

The Ghost Signs of Bath - Part 2 (Faded London on Tour 2010)

Part two of the ghost signs of Bath takes us around the Pultney Bridge area, starting off with a couple of choice ghost signs in Argyle Street. This first is a building that was once a veritable billboard, with practically all of its surfaces covered in text. Although almost illegible the odd word still peeps through. It's noticeably grubbier than its neighbours as well which shows that the owners are probably conscious of their heritage potential and not keen to lose it!
Very tantalizing - your very own deciphering puzzle!
I thought this building was worthy of a couple of close ups to help with the reading process so good luck with these ones...
Also on Argyle Street was this brilliant effort at integrating ghost signs, ghost windows, modern art and a sense of humour! As you can see what was a lending library now has an 'interior view' painted on its ghost window. This is either a nice example of whimsy or ironic post-modernism, you pays your money and takes yer pick...
This was actually taken from the embankment of the river over to the other side. An example of extreme range ghost sign hunting and a slightly out of focus picture! A. Wills & Sons Ltd are now lurking just behind what looks like a bar or riverside pub.
A. Wills & Sons Ltd
Here are a couple more examples of faded yet preserved signage from the Pultney Bridge area. After a while ghost sign hunting in Bath becomes a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. You can't turn a corner without bumping into one!
SIGN 1...
...and SIGN 2
Back in the centre of Bath, right next to the Roman baths themselves, there's an unashamed ghost sign proudly declaring its pre-cholesterol love of cream!  (established in 1850 apparently. No idea when the cream business bit the dust though)
Just off of Beau Street there's a very nice modern spa complex called Thermae and if you look opposite there's an old pump room, again with the browned and stained painted signage carefully preserved
And finally for this post, just in case you're starting to find all these West Country ghost sign just too much of a good thing, here's some interesting vents, oxidised glass and wooden infills of a fine old London cellar light from Hayward and Sons!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Hanging on with a Southfield's ghost sign

There is a neat and orderly grid of streets in the vicinity of Southfields, South London known to local estate agents as 'The Apostles', on account of their number I'm told, as none of the streets are actually named after saints. When built it seems that every corner house on the grid was constructed as a shop, and although many have been converted to houses, you can still tell what they originally were by their shape, lack of front garden and (in the case of the one featured below) by the faintest of ghost signs!

I spotted this one on the way into Wimbledon Park down Revelstoke Road on the corner with Normanton Avenue and it didn't look too promising at first
Ex-shop now highly desirable residence!
OK, one look at the picture above and you know this ones not going to be the most visible or easy to decipher of ghost signs, but then sometimes there's a strange satisfaction to be gained by being able to pick out the odd phrase or name from a sign very much on its last legs.
I thought this was going to be an old Hovis sign at first
The spalling brickwork doesn't help here either but when you zoom in as close as you can you can just make out the old two-colour lettering at the top for and then pick out the proud boast

Just what it was George Brown was selling isn't clear, although I suppose a trip to the library and a search through some old Kelly's Directories might provide an answer. Good to know the locals were getting a good deal off of him though

Well it may not be the clearest ghost sign in Southfields - that honour must go to the Tote one near the High Street - but it does still have a bit of charm about it that i hope might last for another couple of years at least.
One more view for luck