Saturday, 24 November 2012

James Rugg & Son, Earl's Court

In a small street, a few metres away from the crowds of Earls Court Road, is this large and well-preserved ghost sign.

The only mentions of the building and decorating firm of James Rugg & Son I could find date from 1933 and 1948, in The Electrical Journal and Charles White's The Royal Borough of Kensington respectively.

It is rather unusual for the name of a telephone exchange -Frobisher- to be written in full, the custom being to put the first three letters only. In this case, potential customers would have had to dial the code 370 for FRO. The Frobisher exchange served the Earls Court area (if the name of most exchanges made sense -in some way-, in this particular case it escapes me as I haven't found any connection between this part of Kensington and the English navigator and explorer Martin Frobisher).

Given its good state, this ghost sign was certainly painted after the war, possibly in the 1950s if not later. In any case no later than 1966 since that year the Director System for telephone numbers (three letters followed by four numbers) was replaced by All Figure Numbering.

Phone Frobisher - 1155
James Rugg & Son Ltd
Builders Decorators
Sanitary & Electrical

Location: Kenway Road / Pictures taken in November 2012


James said...


This is slightly random but I believe I found a reference to Rugg and Co from World War I. I've been researching my family history and found a mention of Rugg and Co on a soldier's enlistment form. Rugg and Co (at 166 or 165 Earl's Court Road, London) is listed as the previous place of employment before joining the army in August 1914. The soldier in question was recorded as being a painter in the 1911 census so that makes sense. (I'm pretty sure the soldier is my Great Grandfather's nephew.)

I came across this page when I was searching for any mention of Rugg and Co. Thanks for your post as it adds some extra colour/detail to my research.



Carole said...

Hi. My Dad worked at James Rugg and sons from around 1950 to 1985 when he retired. He died not long after. I remember Mr Rugg as my Dad was very loyal to him and he helped him with a job after the war. He could have worked anywhere as he was a master plumber but was very grateful for the job and stayed. The firm was taken over around mid 1970s and was not the same.