I was sorting out some old photos recently and this gouping of ghost signs organised itself rather neatly. I can’t claim to have photographed all of them as the Lewes ones were sent to me by a friend who lives there, who knows I like this kind of thing.
I can’t find any information about Cutts and Co, but I like the way the last letter of the Co seems to loopback under it forming an arrow. The sign also seems to be a second one painted over an earlier one. It is a bit of a local landmark amongst all the more modern artwork in the Bellenden Road zone! I recently saw this sign featured in a Photography Graduates show, in a rather good collection of prints focused on ghost signs in London – I’ve lost the photographers name however, so can’t give you any more info on that score either.
I like the Lewes signs, especially the painted one partly because it creates a capsule around the words, just as I do when highlighting important notes in my diary! I’d love to know what could be used instead of genuine turpentine, if anyone has any ideas let me know! White lead was pretty ubiquitous in Victorian times and a cause of death for those working in the white-lead factories. The descriptions I read here sound pretty gruesome indeed.
The Thomson Bros sign is less fancy and easily missed as you wander down Bermondsey Street SE1. It tells us the company was establised in 1857 but little else than the enigmatic word “paper”. I can only assume they did exactly what it says on the sign!
©Chez l’abeille 2015