Fading Dalston advertisement celebrated by the author of Hackney

After six grueling rounds of knockout competition on Twitter, Bloom’s Piano’s ‘ghost sign’ on Kingsland Road was crowned second best in London.

Sam Roberts, longtime resident of Hackney, also known as Mr. Ghostsigns and co-author of the book Ghost Signs: A London History, hosted the tournament after being mesmerized by the discolored remains of the hand-painted billboards.

He said: “It all started for me at Stoke Newington with the Walker Bros / Waterman sign. [on Church Street]. “


Walker Bros. fountain pen sign on Stoke Newington Church Street.
– Credit: © Roy Reed 2018

The online contest saw 5,000 votes cast with the Capital’s best ghost sign awarded to Peterkin Custard on St John’s Hill in Battersea.

Ghost signs, also known as faded advertisements, are vintage painted signs displayed on old brick buildings across London.

The Bloom’s Pianos sign on Kingsland Road, next to the Museum of the Home, came in second.


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Bloom was the adopted name of the Russian immigrant and master cabinetmaker Philip Blumher who spent much of the 1930s trading in Shoreditch.


This Peterkin Custard sign on Sangora Road was voted the best ghost sign in London.

This Peterkin Custard sign on Sangora Road was voted the best ghost sign in London.
– Credit: Roy Reed 2012

Sam said, “This sign has a bit of everything: scale; illustration; safe language; elastic lettering; and the signature of the sign’s author. It’s also in palimpsest, but the older layer is so far indistinguishable.

“In 2012, the sign was added to the local Hackney City Council list in recognition of its artistic and aesthetic merit and historical value. However, this did not prevent graffiti that gradually crept onto the wall. . “


A book about ghost stores in London.

A book about ghost signs created by Sam Roberts and Roy Reed, and produced with the help of successful crowdfunding.
– Credit: Sam Roberts and Roy Reed

Third place went to Meggezones on Noyna Road in Tooting.

The Book of Sam Ghost Signs: A London Story, published by Hackney’s Isola press, features ghost panels across the city.

Sixty-four entrants were shortlisted for the online competition from among the 250 faded painted wall signs whose stories are told in the book.


Third place went to the

Third place went to “Tussodyne” The Cough Healer from Buy Meggezones For Coughs, Colds & Catarrh Nettle on Noyna Road.
– Credit: Roy Reed

The book was produced through a fundraiser which saw nearly £ 30,000 pledged.

Other ghost signs in Hackney included Cakebread Robey & Co at a former construction dealer on Tyssen Road and Hartcraft sign that advertised a furniture-making business once run by Elizabeth Hart on Minerva Street.


Cakebread Robey and Co sign on Tyssen Road.

Cakebread Robey and Co sign on Tyssen Road in Hackney.

– Credit: © Roy Reed 2018

Player’s Please is another billboard for Player’s cigarettes on Kemey’s Street, on the corner of Kenworthy Road.

To support the visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/isolapress/ghost-signs-a-london-story?ref=5q5pq6


HartcraftModern UpholsteryCabinet MakersTapissiers & Chair Frame Makers sign.

Hartcraft Modern Upholstery Cabinetmakers Upholsterers and chair frame makers sign on Minerva Street.
– Credit: Roy Reed 2021


Advertisement for Player's cigarettes, now only partially visible due to earlier protection by a billboard.

Advertisement for Player’s cigarettes, now only partially visible due to earlier protection by a billboard. Can be seen on Kemey’s Street in Hackney.

– Credit: Sam Roberts




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