Ghost signs are the faded traces of another age before East London exploded into the concrete, glass and metal jungle it is today. Look past the tall buildings, the kitsch markets, the shopping centres and the night clubs, and some hidden gems of local history remain, still lightly printed onto the brick work.
Before Roger Federer and Thierry Henry told us that Gilette is: “The best a man can get”, these hand painted signs were the way East Londoners learnt how to keep their faces hairless, soothe their coughs and colds and where to buy their bread. Even though now most brick walls are misted and tagged with graffiti, these markings show us how far we have come from paint to product placement.
These signs pre-deceased billboards and digital adverts, and before they fade away completely, Sam Roberts has started a collection, contributed to by locals and enthusiastic photographers. If you have any ghost sign pictures you would like to contribute, please visit his get involved page on the Project site, as well as the Ghost Signs Flickr. Below we bring you a small selection from sites along the line.