(c) Alan Wilson and reproduced by permission of Hatads.
(c) Alan Wilson and reproduced by permission of Hatads.

It is one of the old advertising signs which in its faded glory is now known as a Ghost Sign.

These are seen by the advertising industry to be so important that they have created an archive of photos to showcase them. You can find the History of Advertising Trust website here which is sponsored by Rank Hovis

These are adverts painted directly onto the brick walls of buildings around many cities in the UK, and Edinburgh boasts a few fine examples. Can you imagine the industry required in scaling a ladder with the paint brush to accomplish this? And then of course it had to be designed and somehow laid out first! Apparently each signwriter had their own unique style – a far cry from the printed billboards of today.

Sam Roberts is the man behind the archive. Roberts has been researching, writing and speaking about Ghostsigns since 2006. He currently splits his time between project management roles at The Work Foundation and The History of Advertising Trust (voluntary) and a number of visiting lecturer posts at UK universities. Prior to this he worked within the advertising industry, holding positions at the IPA, Lowe, D&AD and iris. He holds both a BA (Philosophy & Mathematics) and an MSc (Human Resources).

Sam manages the leading website on the subject of Ghostsigns, www.ghostsigns.co.uk, and has appeared in numerous features in press, TV and radio. He is a guest speaker on the subject at conferences and universities and has also written a number of articles for academic and specialist publications.

Given the lack of archival materials, Sam has also become the primary reference point on this subject for bodies such as the Museum of Brands & Advertising and The History of Advertising Trust, working with the latter to lead the establishment of the first online photographic archive of ghostsigns photography. He has also assisted numerous students and academics in their research projects as a result of referrals from these institutions.

You can listen to him making a speech about the signs by clicking here

Where are the others in the city…………? Well, for example this one is on……aha! – do you know where it is? You can send us your replies via The Editor’s Blog where the photo is also on display……and do let us know about any others you find!

(c) Ann Biddle and reproduced with permission of Hatads.
(c) Ann Biddle and reproduced with permission of Hatads.