Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Mercado comunitario Mariana Grajales, Sancti Spitirus

In a back street of the historic centre of Sancti Spiritus, the capital of the namesake province in central Cuba, this little painted sign marks the entrance to a small community market named after Mariana Grajales, an icon of women's struggle and of the fight against slavery and for the island's independence.

Mariana Grajales
de 11.00 am a 1.30 pm

Location: Calle Plácido (?), Sancti Spiritus

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Carter Paterson & Co, Brixton

Carrier company Carter Paterson was founded in 1860 by Walter Carter, John Paterson James Paterson, and Robert Paterson. It adopted the name Carter Paterson & Co on January 1, 1869 and in 1887, it became a limited company. Its head office was located at 128 Goswell Road, EC1. Like other leading carriers, Carter Paterson & Co worked closely with the railways. In October 1933 the Big Four railway companies (Southern Railway; Great Western Railway; London, Midland & Scottish Railway; and London & North Eastern Railway) took control in equal shares of Carter Paterson & Co Ltd. The company then operated as a subsidiary of another carrier the Big Four had bought at the same time, the Hay's Wharf Cartage Company Ltd. Following the nationalisation of railways in 1948, Carter Paterson was absorbed into British Road Services.

In the late 19th century Carter Paterson was the country's largest carrier, with more than 2,000 horses in its 20 London depots. One such depot was in Mandrell Road in Brixton. The company acquired the premises, which included stables and several buildings, in 1901. These were largely rebuilt and enlarged in 1904 to meet growing demand for the company's services in the area.

CP & Co
Brixton Depot

The same text was painted twice. The original sign used a slightly larger typeface.

In 1948 the depot became the property of British Road Services but it seems BRS closed it a few years later. The property was then purchased by Danish brewing company Tuborg (see yesterday's ghost sign).

Some information about carriers in the late 19th century and their horses can be found in Chapter 3 of The Horse-World of London by W. J. Gordon, published in 1893 (the paragraphs about Carter Paterson are after the third illustration).

In 1983 a large mural, which appropriately includes horses, was painted by Jane Gifford, Ruth Blench, Mick Harrison and Caroline Thorpe. Sadly its future, and that of the Carter Paterson ghost sign, now seems uncertain as a developer has applied to build nine apartments on the site of the former depot.

Location: Mauleverer Road

Monday, 28 April 2014

Tuborg lager, Brixton

Even if brewing company Tuborg moved out of its premises in Brixton more than 30 years ago, the sign on the wall looks amazingly fresh.

Location: Mandrell Road

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Justice's pure bread, Greenwich

Born in 1850, James Justice's bakery and pastry shop was located at 195 Greenwich High Road. His name appears in directories published between 1882 and the late 1920s. When James retired, he was certainly succeeded by his son William, who had his own bakery at 67 Thames Street.

Between 1882 and 1908 at least (but no longer by 1911), James Baker also served as a Post Office's Receiving Officer.

This ghost sign is at the back of the building and would have been seen from the eastern end of the platforms at Greenwich station and from passing trains. It's a shame part of it disapppeared when the window was opened.

Pure Bread,
& Pastry.

Location: Prince of Orange Lane

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Tali Jagat Raya, Banyuatis

A stop along the road between Munduk and the north coast of Bali to look at rice terraces in the morning sun also provided an opportunity to take a picture of a recently painted sign.

Tali Jagat Raya is a brand of cigarettes manufactured by the Bentoel Group, Indonesia's second largest tobacco company and a subsidiary of British American Tobacco.

Tali Jagat
Citarasa nikmat
Merodok dapat Menyebabkan kanker, serangan jantung,
impotensi dan gangguan kehamilan dan janin.

Tali Jagat
Delicious Flavour
Jagat *
Smoking can cause cancer, heart attacks,
impotence and during pregnancy can harm the foetus.

*: "Tali Jagat" means "Rope of the Universe."

Location: Banyuatis, Bali, Indonesia

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Butlin's holiday camps, Brixton

Below Brixton's famous Bovril ghost sign is a fragment of a sign for Butlin's holiday camps. It is far less special than the one in Birmingham (the post also includes some information about the company) but is, as far as I am aware, the only one in London.

The typeface is characteristic of Butlin's adverts from the 1950s and 1960s but the blue colour for "Butlin's" makes it unusual. Indeed in the vast majority of cases the name was written in red (the very colour of the jackets worn by entertainers and stewards). The website of the Daily Telegraph has another rare example of an advert from the 1950s in which blue was used.

Even though most of the second line has disappeared, the last letters make it easy to tell what was written there. However the final line is a bit of a mystery.

Holiday Camps
... ...ber

Location: Windrush Square

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Bovril, Brixton

Here is a large ghost sign many Londoners will be familiar with: Bovril in Brixton.

Four years separate the photos above from the one below. The sign itself hasn't changed but Windrush Square is now far less green. Shame really.

The ghost sign for the meat extract developed by John Lawson Johnston in the 1870s isn't the only one on this wall but more about this second sign tomorrow.

Location: Windrush Square

Monday, 14 April 2014

Kina Lilet and Vichy Célestins, Pouillac

The wall of this house, next to the former N10 trunk road in France, was painted on many occasions. Nowadays the only ghost signs clearly legible are those for two very different kinds of drinks.

The first one, on the left, is for Kina Lilet. For some information about the history of this fortified wine, check the post about the Kina Lilet ghost sign in Saint-Aubin-de-Blaye.


On the right is a ghost sign for Vichy Célestins. For some information about this mineral water, check the post about the Vichy Célestins ghost sign, also in Saint-Aubin-de-Blaye.


Unfortunately I haven't managed to identify the ghost sign that covered the central part of the wall.

Location: former N10, Pouillac, Charente-Maritime

Friday, 11 April 2014

Valentine, Montlieu-la-Garde

When the colours of this ghost sign for the Valentine brand of paint were still vivid, few people travelling southwards along the N10 trunk road through Montlieu-la-Garde would have missed it.

For a brief history of Valentine paint, please see the earlier post about the Valentine ghost sign in Saintes.

The sign writer cleverly positioned the painter to the right of the window, making it look as if he were painting the only area that was not white yet.

Les belles

The painter was originally created by Charles Loupot in the 1920s. Even if his design was later modified, he remained the symbol of Valentine until the 1980s.

Underneath the ghost sign are the names of the two companies that managed successively this advertising space. The original one was the COFRAP. The second company, , which could be reached by calling TRO 15 57, was the AGPP (for Agence Générale de Presse et de Publicité). TRO stood for Trocadéro, a telephone exchange in Paris.

TRO. 15.57.

Location: Avenue de la République, Montlieu-la-Garde, Charente-Maritime

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Suze, Montlieu-la-Garde

The Suze ghost sign with its characteristic yellow background is a great French classic. For some information about this aperitif whose distinctive taste comes from the gentian roots used in its preparation, check the post about the Suze sign in Saintes.

Originally this sign would have been seen every day by hundreds (and thousands during the holiday exodus) of people driving south on the former Nationale 10, the main road between Paris, Bordeaux and the Spanish border. Many would even have had time to look at it for what would have seemed ages. Indeed Montlieu-la-Garde was notorious for its endless traffic jams caused by the traffic lights at the junction with the Départementale 730 a couple of hundred metres further south. Nowadays a bypass avoids the small town and its many ghost signs.


This Suze sign was certainly painted over an earlier sign. To the left of Suze is the logo of the advertising company that managed the space on this wall.

Location: Avenue de la République, Montlieu-la-Garde, Charente-Maritime

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Daren, Stepney

Painted on one of the Georgian houses that line the northern end of Stepney Green is this well-known restored ghost sign for Daren. For some information about this particular brand of bread, which was Hovis's main competitor in London between the last decades of the 19th century and the mid-20th century, check the post about the Daren ghost sign in Stoke Newington.

The design of this Daren sign is very different from the ones in Camberwell and Vauxhall.

There was a bakery at this address between the late 19th century and the late 1970s at least. According to directories published between 1895 and 1921 this was Frederick Kemp's bakery. However by 1923 it belonged to Samuel Weinbaum. Finally in the early 1970s, the baker was one A. Lewis. By then the Daren sign had disappeared underneath one for Hovis as shown on a picture taken in 1976. This would have been in line with Ranks Ltd's decision to drop the Daren brand in the 1960s or early 1970s and to concentrate on its more successful Hovis brand. However all traces of the sign for Hovis were removed when the Daren sign was restored.

Location: Stepney Green

Monday, 7 April 2014

Fish Bar, Maida Vale

In the shadow of Ernö Goldfinger's Trellick Tower is this modest ghost sign for a fish bar.

It is strange that only the upper part of this ghost sign has been painted over.

Location: Fermoy Road

Saturday, 5 April 2014

J. Crane, House Decorator; Stoke Newington

The first time I saw this ghost sign in 2008, it was partly covered by a graffiti (and a pretty bad one at that).

Five years later the graffiti was gone and the ghost sign for James Crane could be seen in full.

It certainly dates from the last decade (or couple of decades) of the 19th century. James Crane is mentioned in a couple of publications from that period indeed. In October 1894 readers of the London Gazette learnt that James Crane, builder and contractor, of 121, Church Street, Stoke Newington, was bankrupt. Two years later, a notice of intended dividends was published in the London Gazette and reprinted in several professional journals, including Timber and Plywood.

J. Crane. House Decorator
Plimber, Gas & Hot Watter Fitter
Contractor for General Repairs

Location: Church Street

Friday, 4 April 2014

Gravel et Duhamel, Dufresne & Galipeau, and Potato Distributors Ltd; Montreal

Like the warehouse next door, this building was built in 1857 for Victor Husdon, who rented it to various companies. The name of some of these can still be seen on the façade: Gravel et Duhamel, Dufresne & Galipeau, and Potato Distributors Ltd.

In the early 20th century Gravel et Duhamel were carriage and hardware (saddles, harnesses, paint and varnish, etc.) dealers.

Born in 1882, Candide Dufresne was educated at the Yamaehiche College and the Montcalm Commercial School. In 1906 he started working with boot and shoe maker Théodore Galipeau. Born in 1873 and educated at St. Laurent College, Galipeau spent his entire business life in the boot and shoe industry. The two founded the firm Dufresne & Galipeau in 1912. In 1920 the name of the company was changed to Locke Footwear Company, Ltd. It closed down in 1934.

Finally potato wholesaler Potato Distributors Ltd rented the warehouse between 1939 and 1968.

In chronological order, the signs read:
Gravel et Duhamel

& Galipeau

Potato Distributors Ltd

Location: Rue de la Commune Ouest, Montréal

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Hudson & Orsali, and J. Alfred Ouimet; Montreal

Built for Victor Hudson in 1857, the warehouse below included some retail space on the Rue Saint-Paul side. The name of two of the tenants can still be seen on the façade: Hudson & Orsali, and J. Alfred Ouimet.

Hudson & Orsali rented the warehouse between 1887 and 1905. The company imported fine food and beverages from England, France, Spain and the US. As for Joseph Alfred Ouimet, whose company imported perfumes and soap, he moved in in 1928. In 1948 his wife Marie-Antoinette Mercure bought the building. The company continued trading at this address until 1975.

The oldest sign reads simply:

Hudson & Orsali

Something else might have been written below (a few traces of letters can be seen) but I there is no way I can decipher it.

The one for Ouimet reads:

J. Alfred Ouimet

Location: Rue de la Commune Ouest, Montréal

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Bruneau, Currie & Co, Townsend Co, and Smith-Anderson; Montreal

Rue de la Commune in Montreal, which runs parallel to the Saint Lawrence, is lined with former warehouses built in the 19th century, many of which still have the names of some of the tenants written across the façades or on the door jambs.

The warehouse below, originally located in front of the newly built docks, was one of three built in 1841-1842 for Robert Gillespie of Gillespie, Moffatt & Company, to a design by William Footner. It is known as Gillespie's Warehouse Number One. Gillespie, Moffatt & Co was the largest importing house in Montreal and sold a wide range of British goods. The company also traded with the West Indies and by 1837 its boats sailed regularly between Montreal and Jamaica. Even though Robert Gillespie had moved to London in 1822 and did not return to Canada, he owned the company's warehouses in Montreal. These had room for 10,000 barrels of flour, 20,000 bushels of wheat, and 7,000 to 8,000 barrels of beef and pork. They also included special facilities for inspecting, packing, and coopering pork barrels.
Upon Robert Gillespie's death in London in 1863, the warehouses passed to his heirs, who sold them in 1872 to Hosea B. Smith. After that date, they were rented to various import-export traders.

One of those tenants was Bruneau, Currie & Company, a wholesaler of flour and other foodstuffs. The company, based on Place d'Youville in Montreal (just behind the warehouse), was founded in 1880 by Louis-Philippe Bruneau and James Currie. By 1883 the company needed more storage space and rented Gillespie's Warehouse Number One. Following the death of Bruneau in 1890, Currie became the sole owner. In 1911 the company's offices on Place d'Youville were demolished to make way for a new building that housed not only its headquarters but also its warehouse. Three years later Bruneau, Currie & Co moved out of Gillespie's Warehouse Number One. The company, which moved to new premises in the early 1920s, closed down in the mid-1930s.

In 1927 the Smith family sold the warehouse to Townsend Company Limited, dealers in ships supplies, which had been renting it since 1924. However Townsend Co only used the warehouse sporadically and most of the time it was rented to various companies, including cloth manufacturer and retailer Smith-Anderson between 1943 and the late 1960s.

With several signs painted on this building, reading some parts is not easy. Three can be identified though. The oldest one, for Bruneau, Currie & Co, reads:

Bruneau, Currie & Co

The following sign, in chronological order, was Townsend's. It reads:

Townsend Co Limited
... Ship [Steamship?] Supplies

Finally, the most recent sign, for Smith-Anderson, reads:

Smith-Anderson Co
... ...

There was certainly something else written, especially on the lower part, as traces of more letters can be seen.

More palimsests can be found on each side of the door.

The sign for Bruneau, Currie & Co was painted twice:

Currie & Co
Place d'Youville
Bruneau, Currie
& Co. Limited

Of the signs for Townsend and Smith-Anderson, only the companies' names, in the upper part, are still visible. In the case of the former, it has faded so much only a couple of letters are still legible. Traces of more letters can be seen here and there but nothing that makes sense.

Here as well there are two signs for Bruneau, Currie & Co:

Currie & Co
Youville Square [?]
Bruneau, Currie
& Co. Limited

Taces of more letters can be seen but I did not manage to identify any word... apart from:


Location: Rue de la Commune Ouest, Montréal

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Talbot Stores, Westbourne Green

Near the eastern end of Talbot Road is an elegantly written ghost sign for Talbot Stores.

In the absence any further word, it is impossible to ascertain what was sold in these stores.

Various editions of The Post Office London Directory give us the names of people living at this address and their profession. In the early 1880s the premises were occupied by John Ward & Son, tailors. The same profession was carried on by Charles Henderson, who lived there between the mid-1890s and the turn of the century. Finally directories from the first half of the 1910s list Thomas Henry Smith and then Florence Annie Smith (probably his widow), who both carried on as grocers. Could one of them have paid for the sign? Or was this sign painted later?


Location: Talbot Road