Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Dry cleaners, Forest Hill

Unfortunately we may never know the full name of the dry cleaners as the upper part of this ghost sign has completely disappeared.

... [&] Sons
Dry
Cleaners

A closer look shows we are once more in the presence of a palimpsest. Two, possibly three, businesses advertised their trade on this wall.

A '/' indicates overlapping lines

Ladies
.er M... / O...
M... / Mod...
A / Se... / S...
Tailor Corsets
A...
Made of ...

Location: Dartmouth Road / Pictures taken in July 2009

3 comments:

Sam Roberts said...

What I can't understand are these two contradictory features of the sign. First is that the clipped corners suggest that this is the correct size for at least one of the signs you've identified. Second is that the lettering of the sign with the word ending 'Sons' appears to be the most recently painted.

For the second feature to be true we would expect there to be no clipped corners if, as it appears, the bottom portion was covered while the top portion was exposed to cleaning of some sort.

Sebastien Ardouin said...

This is a bit mysterious indeed. As you wrote Sam, the clipped corners certainly correspond to one of the earlier signs. My guess is the dry cleaners' ghost sign extended upwards and originally covered the upper clipped corners (traces of white paint show the right corner was clearly painted over and very small and faint white spots can be seen just above the left corner). Could it be then that the job was not very good and the paint soon peeled off? I don't know enough about the technique but maybe a first coat should have been applied to the bricks and that was not the case? Since the lower part of the sign was painted on an already 'stable' base it survived until now. That's the only explanation I can think of right now.

Sam Roberts said...

You could be onto something. What's odd is that the lower grade paint was presumably also used for the letters but these don't seem to have been eroded at all. Maybe they used a different paint for the undercoat and another for the letters.