Road Signs of the past restored by sign writing onto old buildings where they were once painted

Requested by a building contractor, which were renovating a lot of the buildings in the streets with the road signs in need of restoration.

In our profession these type os wall painted signs are known as ‘ghost signs’ as they were painted in a bygone era, but still in existance, even if only partly visable due to age & patina.

The existing signs had seen far better days & were bearly visable. one being better than the other.

I made measurements of the whole area where the signs existed & then attempted to work out how the road signs used to look.

The wording was then drawn onto paper to the correct scale before being pin pricked (pounced) so that powder could be dabbed onto it once on the wall.

The first stage on site, on the scaffolding, was to paint the areas white. A quick dry oil based matt finish paint was used.

Gloss would look far too ‘new’ for this sort of sign. Despite the weather being sleet & snow the paint dried within a couple of hours, so the sign writing could be started, which was needed as the daylight would be short too.

To save time, as most of the existing ‘George Street’ lettering could still be seen, It was ‘cut in’ rather than just painted over.

The ‘pounce’ can be seen in this pic, so there is a guide for where the sign writing is to be written. it looks ‘smudged’ but once the paint is dry it only takes a wet cloth to clean it up.

A close up shows just how uneven & word parts of the brickwork was. It could be this was causing damp actually needed replacing as it was crumbling in places.

A finished image of the ‘Cumberland Place’ sign

The pounce powder was cleaned off after this & looked much neater & clearer.

Sadly when I returned for a finished image of the signs, once the scaffolding came down a few weeks later, I was shocked to see it had all been removed!

It could be for two reasons. Either that wall was crumbling & causing damp & that section had to be replaced, or the council had requested it be removed & their standard metal signs put up instead.

The road is no longer called ‘Upper George St’ & is just George Street, so maybe this had a bearing on it.

As can be seen in this image, some of the neighbouring streets in the same area, have simply had the metal road signs fitted over the top of the old ‘ghost signs’ without them even being rubbed off, so it would appear this is more the case.

Hand Painted Traditional & contemporary Sign writing in London

Sign writer – Traditional Signs of London