Historic England Is Creating A Map Of UK’s ‘Ghost Signs’ & Dated Adverts

Historic England Is Creating A Map Of UK’s ‘Ghost Signs’ & Dated Adverts

Ghost signs. I hint at life in the past can be found on the sides of buildings across towns and cities in the UK. And, Historic England are looking to create a map of the UK’s signs and is looking for people around the country to help out.

If you’ve not heard of a ghost sign, they’re nothing to do with Halloween, or the paranormal. They’re in all sorts of shapes and sizes and chances are you have them where you live. You just have to look. Hand-painted advertising signs or old shop and factory signage that’s been preserved.

Described by Historic England as ‘faded relics’ they offer a cultural and social’ insight and can ‘tell us about our collective architectural history. And, you can help document this insight into the past by helping to hunt down examples of these ‘ghost signs’.

I can already think of three examples from my home in my little market town in East Yorkshire. So, there must be thousands out there across the nation. One of the most famous ones for me is in York, and is maintained and touched up, so less ghostly, but still a great insight into the past.

Credit: Photo © Dave Pickersgill (cc-by-sa/2.0)

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Chief exec of Historic England Duncan Wilson said: “Once you start looking up on high streets and hunting for ghost signs, you’ll find that they’re hidden in plain sight, tucked away down alleyways or hiding among rooftops. 

“These mysterious pieces of secret history are a special reminder of the people who came before us, and the urban spaces and high streets they made their own.

If you’re like to learn how you can submit your snaps and help document the past, head over to Historic England website here.

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Feature Image Credit: Photo © Graham Hogg (cc-by-sa/2.0)/ Photo © Jim Osley (cc-by-sa/2.0)