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New Book Examines “Ghost Signs” of London

Ghost Signs: A London Story showcases about 250 hand-painted signs.

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A new book offers a comprehensive account of “ghost signs” in London, focusing on the hand-painted relics of the city’s advertising past.

Written by Sam Roberts and Roy Reed, Ghost Signs: A London Story showcases about 250 of London’s most impressive and historically significant ghost signs, accompanied by archival and other contextual images.

Introductory chapters include essays on how they were produced and their restoration and conservation. Signs are then featured in themed chapters that include building, entertaining and branding.

The publisher explains in more detail:

“Imposing yet hidden in plain sight, these faded advertisements are London’s history written onto the contemporary cityscape. They reveal fascinating stories of everyday life in the capital. From births and deaths to bombs and whiskey, and Alf the Purse King to Bonsoir Pyjamas, each sign has its own story to tell – not just of the business it represents and the people behind it, but of its own improbable survival. … Ghost Signs: A London Story will appeal to flâneurs, armchair historians of the urban environment and those interested in design, architecture and typography.”

The book can be purchased at isolapress.com.

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Signs of the Times has been the world leader in sign information since 1906. Contact Signs of the Times' editors at [email protected].

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