Monday, 21 November 2011

W. English & Son, Manor Park

For more than 130 years W. English & Son has been arranging funerals and supplying memorials to people of East London. According to the company's website, it has been doing so since 1880 but that clashes with the date painted on the wall below. One explanation could be that originally W. English dealt solely in memorials and only became a funeral director in 1880.
Nowadays W. English & Son has two branches, in Bethnal Green and South Woodford. Did they have another office at some point in Manor Park?

A close look at the first and penultimate lines of this ghost sign shows this wall was painted on two occasions. Originally these two lines read

The English ...
Branches In All Parts Of London
This last line was a bit of an overstatement, unless W. English was already part of a wide network of monumental masons. Note that a rather elaborate Gothic-style typeface, of the kind more often associated with newspapers' titles, was used for 'The English.'

As for the more recent sign, it reads
W. English & Son Ltd.
Est. 1871 [or 1817 *]
Beautiful & Lasting Memorials
Erected in any Cemetery
or Churchyard
Inscriptions & Renovations
Phone Ilford 0.32

* It seems the sign painter got the last two digits mixed up. Having realised his mistake, he painted them again but the result is confusing, thus the date could be 1817 or 1871 (when the paint was fresher the original error was certainly properly hidden).

To conclude on a humoristic note, when I discovered this ghost sign, which brings together 'English' and the idea of death, I was reminded straight away of a video advertising a French school in the US: click here to watch it.

Location: Rabbits Road / Picture taken in May 2011

1 comment:

Bob Lynch said...

I took a picture of this sign today but couldn't quite work out what it said. Your site helped me caption the photo when I posted it on Flickr.