Ghost Signs: A London Story
The most comprehensive account of ghost signs ever published, focusing on the hand-painted relics of London’s advertising past
Ghost signs are fascinating pieces of urban archaeology. Imposing yet hidden in plain sight, these faded advertisements are London’s history written onto the contemporary cityscape. They reveal fascinating stories of everyday life in the capital. From births and deaths to bombs and whiskey, and Alf the Purse King to Bonsoir Pyjamas, each sign has its own story to tell – not just of the business it represents and the people behind it, but of its own improbable survival.
The book showcases around 250 of London’s most impressive and historically significant ghost signs, geo-located, accompanied by archival and other contextual images. Introductory chapters include essays on how they were produced and their restoration and conservation. Signs are then featured in themed chapters that include building, entertaining, branding and, ultimately, burying the city.
Ghost Signs: A London Story will appeal to flâneurs, armchair historians of the urban environment and those interested in design, architecture and typography.
Words and photos by Sam Roberts and Roy Reed, with an introduction by Wayne Hemingway.