Monday, 31 January 2011

Trousseaux & layettes, Saintes

Two signs have been painted on this wall. The most recent one spells
Trousseaux & layettes

It was painted over and earlier sign that signalled
Chaussures [Shoes]
were available at this address.

Location: Rue Victor Hugo, Saintes, Charente-Maritime / Picture taken on: 08/06/2010

Friday, 28 January 2011

Boulangerie patisserie, Saintes

Boulangerie patisserie
L. Renard

Location: Rue d'Alsace-Lorraine, Saintes, Charente-Maritime / Picture taken on: 08/06/2010

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Le Winch, La Rochelle

The original sign read
Brasserie le ...

Then it was covered by
Restaurant Le W[inch]

Given the different style, 'Restaurant' and 'Le Winch' may not have been painted at the same time. Of course it is also possible this was done to attract the eye.

Location: Cours des Dames, La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime / Picture taken on: 09/06/2010

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Salon de coiffure, Saintes

Salon de coiffure au 1er
[Hairdressing Salon on 1st Floor]

Location: Rue d'Alsace-Lorraine, Saintes, Charente-Maritime / Picture taken on 08/06/2010

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Vins et liqueurs, Saintes

Compared with the colourful ghost signs from Saintes I presented previously (here and here) the sign below is rather modest, to say the least!

Débit de vins et liqueurs
[Wine and Liqueur Bar]

Location: Rue Eugène Pelletan, Saintes, Charente-Maritime / Picture taken on: 08/06/2010

Monday, 24 January 2011

Voiles, cordages, La Rochelle

As I am extremely busy over the next ten days, I will only post some rather simple ghost signs from La Rochelle and Saintes about which I won't have much to say. Once this is over, I promise you some more elaborate ones from this side of the Channel as well as a pretty exceptional one from Cuba.
In the meantime, the French series begins today with this building facing the old harbour of La Rochelle; an ideal location for a business that sold - and maybe even manufactured - sails and ropes.

Toiles à voiles

Location: Cours des Dames, La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime / Picture taken on: 09/06/2010

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Horlogerie, Melle

The ghost signs on this building just opposite the covered market of Melle in the French département of Deux-Sèvres have faded so much they are barely noticeable. Watchmaking and agricultural machinery may be an odd combination but I suppose both involved cogwheels, springs and the like, albeit on a different scale.

Machines agricoles

The font used for the upper sign is more artistic and somehow similar to the one used to promote the vanneur (basket maker) of Cognac (fourth picture from the end of the post)

For the lower sign, a straighter font with a more modern feel was used. One possibility is that it was painted at a later date, when the watchmakers extended their business to agricultural machinery.

Location: Place du marché, Melle, Deux-Sèvres / Picture taken on: 05/10/2008

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

A. H. Dunn, Battersea

After Tonbridge, Guildford and Acton, here is a sign for another bakery associated with Hovis (many more will follow). Sadly it has been damaged by graffiti.

A. H. Dunn
- High Class -
Baker & Confectioner
Maker of

Location: Northcote Road / Picture taken on: 23/05/2008

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Safety precaution, Southwark

What does the central character of Prosper Mérimée's novella Carmen have to do with this safety notice painted on a warehouse in Southwark? This puzzled me for a second before I realised there were actually two words: 'car' and 'men'. But why did they stick them together? Or was this notice put especially for an employee called Carmen who got injured time after time by falling cases?

Safety Precaution
Stand Clear When
Cases Are Going Up

Update: following JBS's comments, I have updated the transcription of the notice above as it is now almost certain there aren't two but one word: "Carmen." See the comments for more information.

Location: Glasshill Street / Picture taken on: 16/07/2009

Monday, 17 January 2011

F. Leney & Co., Raynes Park

Although very little information is available about F. Leney & Co., it seems pretty certain this was a wine merchant. Documents indicate F. Leney & Co. was purchased by Birchwood Inns Ltd, a company which eventually became part of the Unwins Wine Group. This is confirmed by the three companies being registered at the same address in Dartford. Also, before it became a pharmacy, this shop used to be an Unwins off-licence. Unwins went into administration in late 2005 and 200 of its shops were bought by its competitor Threshers. The one in Raynes Park wasn't included in the deal and it remained empty for a while. Barkers Chemist moved in in spring 2008 and for a few days the 'Unwins Wine Merchants' sign in green letters on a yellow background could be seen still hanging above the door of the newly-opened pharmacy.

Location: corner Lambton Road and Worple Road / Picture taken on: 12/08/2008

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Pinder, Stockwell

More than a century after it was originally painted (judging by the style), this sign on the side of a house in a residential street reminds us a builder by the name of Pinder once traded in the area.

Carpenter Pinder Bricklayer
Plumber Painter Glazier
House Agent &
Contractor House Repairs
In Branches

Location: Lansdowne Gardens / Picture taken on: 29/07/2010

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Gillette, Tooting

A coat of white paint splashed on this wall makes the ghosts signs more... ghostly?

Although several ads were painted here, only the one for Gillette can be easily identified thanks to its famous words and font:

Location: Coverton Road / Picture taken on: 11/04/2008

Monday, 10 January 2011

Morgan & Son, Hounslow

Two signs have been painted on this wall: one followed the slope of the roof while the other one was written horizontally.

Morgan & Son


Location: Staines Road / Picture taken on: 19/07/2008

Friday, 7 January 2011

Stuarts DIY, Surbiton

At first sight, this is a pretty straightforward, easy-to-read sign painted at some point during the second half of 1950s or the first half of the 1960s (the style plus two other elements explained below allow to narrow it down to a decade):
Do it Yourself
Flooring Centre
Elm. 1017 [originally 0641]

"Elm." stands for Elmbridge, the name given to the telephone exchange in Surbiton (this name was adopted because the exchange was located on Elmbridge Avenue and not because Surbiton was part of Elmbridge. Surbiton -which didn't exist in Saxon times- would have been part of the Kingston hundred, not the Elmbridge hundred. The present borough of Elmbridge in Surrey was created on April 1, 1974, nine years after the Municipal Borough of Surbiton merged with Kingston-upon-Thames and a few others municipal boroughs to form the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and was transferred from Surrey to Greater London).
Since the Director System for telephone numbers (three letters and four digits) was replaced by All Figure Numbering in 1966, this sign must have been painted before that date.

A closer look at the wall shows the Stuarts sign was painted over an earlier one:
Hosier &

It is this sign that can be seen partially on a picture taken around 1955 (one third from the left). Thus this picture and the change in the telephone numbering system give us a rough date when the Stuarts sign was painted.

Location: Victoria Road / Picture taken on: 15/04/2008

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Gillette, Criterion and Iron Jelloids, Southwark

Happy New Year to all my readers! If you haven't done so, I invite you to visit my other blog for a festive picture.

Meanwhile on this blog I shall start 2011 by looking at a disappeared palimpsest. Unfortunately the building it was on was restored a few months ago and the painted signs disappeared in the process. Prior to that act of vandalism, three adverts could be seen above the entrance to a newsagent's.

Modern signs for The Times, The Sun, Today, and News of the World used to hide the lower half but a close look at the upper part revealed a combination of three products well-known to aficionados of ghost signs.

The most faded sign was for

For some information about these sub-carbonate of iron and jujube mass tablets and the company that made them you can refer to an earlier post about the Windsor Road ghost sign.

The other two signs are much easier to read. One promoted

while the other one encouraged customers to

This isn't the only wall occupied successively by these brands. A combination of Gillette and Iron Jelloids can be seen in Clapham High Street (first sign of the post), while a palimpsest with Criterion and Gillette still adorns Stoke Newington Church Street. Other walls with those three products will be posted in the future, so keep visiting!

Location: Southwark Bridge Road / Pictures taken on: 10/04/2008