Monday, 20 February 2012

Hovis, Islington

When Hovis paid for this painted sign, electric baking machines were still relatively new (*) and worth advertising. Electricity was associated not only with modernity but also with cleanliness. No more potentially dirty hands mixing the ingredients and kneading the dough! Machines also suggested constant quality. Add the Hovis name (a brand whose success in the late 19th century was built on quality at a time when most of the loaves sold in Britain were rather bland, with little nutritious value and sometimes plain unhealthy), the slogan "Builds Health", and here is an advert that would have attracted modern, hygiene-conscious, and nutrition-aware customers.
This ghost sign was most certainly painted during the inter-war years, as indicated by the presence of the dash on the 'o' of Hovis. Hovis slogans with a particular emphasis on and featuring the word "health" were also characteristic of that period.

Electric Machine
Maker of
Builds Health

Since bread had had a bad reputation throughout most of the 19th century, bakeries that introduced modern technologies were usually keen on advertising it. For such a ghost sign, see the post about the Hygienic Bakeries in Richmond.

*: the first electric baking machines used in British bakeries seem to have been introduced towards the end of the first decade of the 20th century, once the production and distribution of electricity had become more reliable, but it was only after the First World War that their numbers really increased. Click here to see a picture of the Electric Machine Bakery of A. W. Davis in Herne Hill taken in 1910.

Location: Islington High Street / Picture taken in August 2008


Sam Roberts said...

This sign apparently has some form of protection, although I never did follow it up. The chap mentioned here is no longer with us but I wonder if the council would have a record somewhere?

michael said...

Very great wall painting I think The person who painted this wall is a great Artist
Painting Company

helen said...

Nice - looks like there is a gallery there now!