Monday, 13 December 2010

Fenner's, Wimbledon

Commuters who turned south as they came out of Haydons Road train station in Wimbledon would certainly have noticed this large sign for a local grocery shop. Nowadays the premises are occupied by the Wimbledon Upholstery.

Grocery &
Oil Stores
All Household Requisites

Location: Queen Street / Picture taken on: 14/03/2008

Friday, 10 December 2010

Suze and Dubonnet, Cozes

Here is a wall that illustrates perfectly the harsh competition between two of France's leading brands of aperitifs: Dubonnet and Suze. Between the early twentieth century and the 1960s they both painted thousands of signs across the country to try to attract customers. In 1922 Fernand Moureaux, the creator of Suze, announced he wanted to see the name of his aperitif painted in every French town and village. That would have been a staggering 36,000 signs at least (actually we can assume larger towns would have got more than one. Thus if his dream had come true the figure might have been well above 50,000!). In Cozes, Dubonnet came first but when the company did not renew its contract, Suze seized the opportunity to put its name on the wall and obliterate part of its competitor.

To the right of the 'U' of Suze appears what was certainly the name of the company that managed this wall: Bézicot (painted twice). A quick search online shows an advertising agency of that name existed in Bordeaux in the 1960s.

For more signs and information about Dubonnet, click here and here. For Suze, click here.

Location: Route de Bordeaux, Cozes, Charente-Maritime / Picture taken on: 07/06/2010

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Pet and flower shop, Altenburg

Throughout the eastern part of Germany many painted signs can still be seen, often on unrestored buildings. Most of them were painted during the German Democratic Republic period, when paint was readily available and cheap, contrary to neon or plastic materials. Altenburg is no exception and even a rapid tour of the town will reveal signs for a whole range of trades and services.

Zoo Handlung Blumen
[Pet and Flower Shop]

The shop closed some time ago and the building is for sale (the posters behind the windows are there purely for decorative purposes). While I was taking some pictures, the neighbour came out and asked me if I was interested in buying it!

Location: Wallstraße, Altenburg, Thüringen / Picture taken on: 27/04/2010

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Curtis, Sherborne

The only trace Curtis seems to have left is this doorstep mosaic.

Location: Cheap Street, Sherborne, Dorset / Picture taken on: 15/08/2009

Monday, 6 December 2010

Shaving Saloon, Stockwell

Although one can no longer get a clean shave there, a ghost sign still decorates the upper part of this façade, between the first floor windows and the cornice.


Location: Stockwell Green / Picture taken on: 09/04/2008

Friday, 3 December 2010

Warehouse, Salisbury

If the two painted signs from this cathedral city I posted previously were well-preserved, the same cannot be said of this one. A multiplicity of layers doesn't help either to decipher it: a few letters can be identified here and there, but only one word is complete.


The building this sign is painted on, at 51 Silver Street, appears on a picture taken c 1955. Unfortunately the picture is too small and by then the sign had already badly faded (it is on the third building from the right, on the side wall between the top of the street light and the chimneys).
Old directories available online don't offer much help either, except maybe Kelly's Directory of the Leather Trades, published in 1880. Indeed under "Boot & Shoe Manufacturers - Wholesale" it lists James and William Moore, of Crispin House, Fisherton Street and 51 Silver Street. It is possible that some of the letters painted at some point just below the moulded stone cornice spellt "Moore". It may also be my imagination.

Location: Silver Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire / Picture taken on: 09/08/2009

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Everett's Stores, Walthamstow

For quite some time this large ghost sign remained hidden behind a billboard. When the latter was taken down earlier this year what was previously advertised finally appeared.
Everett's Stores was located about 50 yards south of St James Street station in Walthamstow as a picture of St James's Street taken in 1906 and available on the Francis Frith website reveals (Everett's is on the very right of the photo, behind the horse-drawn carriage with the tea advert). The name is mentioned in several documents published between 1894 and 1930 but none provides any additional information about the business.

Drapery &

It looks as if this wall had been previously covered by another sign.

Location: St James's Street / Picture taken on: 17/02/2010