05 April 2013

Round town - Nicholay Road, N19

Advertisement for a baker named Fryer, off the Holloway Road. The sign appears in Ewan M's "ghost signs" flickr set of signs, which you can see here. Sometimes the signs are overpainted and you see the faded layers. Sometimes they refer to the business in the actual building (as here) and other times they are advertisements for nearby businesses.

"What are ghost signs? In short, they are London’s most magical and haunting presences in the form of fading advertisements once painted by hand onto buildings throughout the city, the historical and cultural significance of which is traced and investigated in this essay. These revenants from London’s commercial past have recently started to announce their presence in and impose their aesthetic on London’s consciousness by triggering a series of political debates and critical interests. There emerged a network of loosely connected people -- ghost sign spotters -- who capture these spectres in photographic collections which often run into the thousands of specimens." So says this article, which goes on to explain that the business would get a free ad in return for featuring the brand-name of the flour prominently. "Developing this relationship with the bakers was not only a strong distribution strategy but it also allowed the brand to lodge itself into the public consciousness as a localized business rather than an anonymous, corporate brand."

Ghost signs of the USA appear in Derek Stenborg's book - this photo is via messynessychic.com -

1 comment:

reensstitcher said...

There is one of these signs in St Ives. It is for the Hains shipping company which was famous in its day and belonged to a St Ives family. You can only see this sign from the back road that leads to the Barbara Hepworth gallery and I have a vague idea that the building may have been demolished fairly recently. I suspect most towns have these ghosts so I shall have to start looking out for them.