Old sign writing was to be re-written on a historic building in South London, which was a repeat job. I had previously produced the old sign writing on the Thames facing side of the building, which was originally the entrance to the barge/boat house. The whole building has been converted into housing but the period features are kept & restored to how they have been for many years.

This time it was the rear doors to the barge/boat house that needed the old sign writing added. The doors were large wooden & slatted. They were also set off the ground as they weren’t used for vehicles to be driven in as they pre date motorised vehicles. The signwriting was to match the rest of the signs already produced around the building, which was re-painted by myself.

All the writing on the other signs were marked out & painted in straight lines but as per old sign writing styles, these doors were to have the wording in an arc, which isn’t really commonly seen anymore, as its been hard for computer design programmes to make the vinyl look right to match the style. It was more commonly seen a long time ago, as it was a good way of fitting longer wording into a small area, but without reducing the size of the lettering, so still visually impacting.

The lettering was marked out & measured into the centre, with the arc being equal bothe sides of the centre. The lettering having the drop shadow drawn out too, along with the flag with was to be painted above the wording.

The flag was painted first using a matt finish quick dry oil based paint. That allowed for the flag symbol to be added. The sign writing was then painted in with a mix of a tan & yellow colour to match the shade the colour that would’ve been used when the old sign writing was first produced, which would’ve had lead added back then. These days the paint doesn’t cover as well with no lead in it, so it often requires 2 coats of paint rather than one for full opacity.

The first colour of the sign writing completed, with the mix of 2 colours covering quite well on the blue. Any areas grinning a little were just given a quick re-coat once it had dried.

The yellow lettering was then given a black drop shadow, which helped the writing stand out but also matched the rest of the old sign writing already repainted. This is slightly less time consuming than the yellow, as the black tends to cover better. With a good choice of brush it can be only a few strokes per letter, but care is taken to touch in the grooves of the wood slats.

┬áThe completed old sign writing on the double wooden doors, along with the previously completed work on the framed entrance sign & building name sign. The old boat house building is still named as Hay & Son boat builders but the newer building alongside is now known as Hay’s Court but both buildings were given the same look & appeal to tie the two buildings together. The Hays Court building is no.133 on the street & the old boat house is 135. The entrance to the properties within the Boat House building that face the Thames have their entrance within the Hay Court courtyard, which is why they are both made to look matching. The renovations were agreed to by most the residents.

The resident within the boat house building, who has his entrance along the road side wasn’t so willing to worry about the renovations, but was appeased when his address number sign was given a make over. As can be seen it had seen better days!

The Street number was hand sketched out on site & painted in to complete the job at the historic Rotherhithe premises.

Traditional & Contemporary Hand Painted Sign Writing in London

Sign Writer Traditional Signs of London