Friday 3 August 2012

Nestle's Milk, Clapham

A few weeks ago I was travelling on the 87 bus towards the city centre when I noticed one of the modern hoardings along Wandsworth Road had been removed, thus revealing the hidden part of a ghost sign for Nestlé's milk. Earlier this week I went back to take some pictures.

In June 2008, left, and four years later, right.

For years grime accumulated between the wall and the hoarding, leaving the part previously hidden very dark indeed! Even if there has been no lack of rain lately, we will need a few more heavy showers to wash all this dirt out. Still the missing parts of the text have now been revealed.

If You Can't

This slogan was launched by the multinational company around 1920 but seems to have been dropped less than half a decade later. It sometimes ran alongside another similar message: "Fathers! If it's Nestlé's; Come home with the milk." A wooden ruler carrying both is now in Hackney Museum's collection.
I am not sure the combination of three different tyfaces worked really well. It just looks as if there were several signs painted on this wall. Obviously this wouldn't necessarily have been the case when it was freshly painted, but I still find it a bit odd.

This was the second ghost sign for Nestlé painted on this building. Originally, on the upper part of the wall, one could read


This would have looked very much like the Nestlé ghost sign on New Cross Road.

The ghost sign visible nowadays is very similar to one in Upper Clapton Road.

When Nestlé stopped paying for the upkeep of its sign, the company that managed this wall painted its contact details. However it failed to attract anyone and Nestlé's sign is still with us today.

To Let
Apply C. J. Lytle
57, Long Acre, W.C. 2

C. J. Lytle Ltd was a leading London firm of advertisers. It must have managed walls available for painted signs under the name of Boro. The same name and contact details appear on a wall on Stoke Newington Green.
C. J. Lytle Ltd was founded, certainly in the 1930s if not slightly earlier, by Charles J. Lytle, a US citizen who resided in the UK. The company seems to have been prosperous enough during the inter-war years but from the 1950s faced growing competition from wealthy US advertising agencies that tried to grab a share of the British advertising market. In order to remain competitive, several British agencies turned to the City to raise capital. In 1961 C. J. Lytle Ltd became the second advertising firm to float on the London Stock Exchange. However this was not enough to save the company and in December 1965 shareholders decided to wind it up.
C. J. Lytle's contact details may have been painted in the 1930s. Indeed, from 1940 at least, and until well into the 1960s, 57 Long Acre was one of the London addresses of Odhams Press, first of its Advertisers Service Bureau and then of its Managerial Department.

Location: Killyon Road / Pictures taken in June 2008 and July 2012

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