Tuesday, 20 July 2010


Writing about Ripolin brought to mind these relics of the great days of advertising sign-painting. There are some seriously dedicated practitioners in the art of Ghostsign hunting whose efforts merit the highest commendation. Their forensic skills have brought many a forgotten example to light and the results are widely posted on the web. Some of the most rewarding discoveries have been made when a neighbouring building has been demolished to reveal an almost pristine sign on a hitherto hidden surface. Sam Roberts’s project is the most extensive survey in the UK and includes a bibliography for those in search of even more detail. My expertise in the art of looking upwards has its limitations but even I couldn’t fail to see this specimen in Harrogate.

Part of the fascination of these things is the multiple layers of paintwork and a little reprocessing in Photoshop produced the results above and clarified the existence of an Oxo cube. The wall appears to have been painted as two separate panels with Oxo occupying the lower while the words Harrogate ........ Co. Ltd. can be seen near the top. Two more examples recorded recently come from Bridport (right) and Harrogate, just around the corner from the Oxo sign. The History of Advertising Trust hosts an archive of more than 600 examples of Ghostsigns from all over the UK.

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