Ghostly signs of advertising history

Meggezones in Brockley Photo: Caroline Derry

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.


W. Uden & Sons in Lewisham Photo: Jane Parker

W. Uden & Sons in Lewisham Photo: Jane Parker

Jays Furniture in Lee Photo: Caroline Derry

Brymay Matches in New Cross Photo: Caroline Derry

Redfern's Rubber Heels on Stanstead Road, Forest Hill Photo: Neil Dell

Nestle in New Cross Photo: Jane Parker


Blooms Pianos on Kingsland Road Photo: Ronnie Hackston

Gilette Razors on Commercial Street Photo: Sam Roberts

Boyd Pianos on Shackelwell Lane Photo: Ewan Munro

Watermans/Walker Bros in Stoke Newington Photo: Sam Roberts

Warings/Wilton on Shepperton Road Photo: Jane Parker


Donovan Bros on Crispin Street Photo: Gary Farrer

Brotherton & Sons on Commercial Road Photo: Richard Bulch


E. Reeve on Tanfield Road Photo: Anthony Avon

Browns on Union Road Photo: Anthony Avon

Millett's on Surrey Street Photo: Anthony Avon

Swan Vesta on London Road Photo: Joseph Reid

One Response

  1. Sam Roberts June 23, 2010

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