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  • Writer's pictureLiz Mitchell Photography

Searching for Ghostsigns

Updated: Jul 2, 2020

Ghostsign, advertising, history,Stoke Newington
Ghostsign in Stoke Newington

I was introduced to Ghostsigns by Sam Roberts, aka Mr Ghostsigns, during a tour he hosted in London. A group of us met up with him outside Stoke Newington station and listened while he explained how best to approach the search for these old advertising signs.

Many are from the late 1800s and some from the early 1900s and are typically located towards the top of old buildings, where they would be easy to spot. Their purpose was to advertise businesses in the area, some would have been created by the business itself, others would be sponsored by a manufacturer. The example above advertises the business, Walker Brothers, who specialise in 'Fount pens' or fountain pens, it also advertises a manufacturer with the brand 'Watermans' - still going strong today.

Ghostsign, advertising, history, Stoke Newington
Fragment of a Ghostsign

This fragment of a ghostsign used to promote Hurstleigh's Bakery advertising Daren Bread. The reason only a fragment remains is because this part of the sign would have been covered by a sign board when the rest of the wall was cleaned, so it was preserved. Sam's research pieced together the name of the bakery and the brand of bread (a competitor to Hovis and Turog).

A more detailed account of the tour can be found here:

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© Liz Mitchell Photography
© Liz Mitchell Photography
© Liz Mitchell Photography
© Liz Mitchell Photography
© Liz Mitchell Photography
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