Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Coach builder, Gloucester

On a house standing alone at the northern end of Market Parade is a badly darkened ghost sign for coach builder R. Morris. That this ghost sign is now opposite the city's bus station is purely coincidental. Back when it was painted, it faced the cattle market (hence the name of the street).

The 1847 edition of Hunt & Co's Directory & Court Guide includes an entry for Richard Morris, coach builder, at New Market. The same year both The Jurist and The Spectator informed their readers that the case of Richard Morris, coach builder from Gloucester, would be heard by the Court of Review in Bankruptcy. Could he be the one behind this ghost sign? This seems to be confirmed by the 1863 edition of the Post Office Directory, which lists a Richard Morris, carriage builder, at Market Parade. The difference in the address is certainly due to a change in the name of the street.

R. Morris
Coach Builder

Obviously it is possible Richard Morris set up a company that survived him and this ghost sign was painted by his heirs. 'R. Morris' could also simply be one of his descendants. However the absence of documents (as far as I am aware) to support these hypotheses would suggest we are be looking at a ghost sign from the mid-19th century indeed.

Location: Market Parade, Gloucester, Gloucestershire / Pictures taken in July 2010

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