Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A few Hurstbridge signs

It's been a while since I've posted here - life's kinda got in the way of late :) So now I've got this ridiculous backlog of ghost sign pics...will try to clear it over the next little while. Stay tuned.

But first, some signs I snapped the other day in the main drag of Hurstbridge, including a fabbo Nestles sign uncovered by a billboard removal on an old grocery.

Oh, and PS: After over two years of work, WE'VE HANDED IN THE FINAL PROOFS FOR OUR GHOST SIGNS ACADEMIC BOOK!! It should be out soon...the blurb is here: https://www.routledge.com/Advertising-and-Public-Memory-Social-Cultural-and-Historical-Perspectives/Schutt-Roberts-White/p/book/9781138934689

Note that it will be only available in ridiculously expensive hardback for the first 12 months, then out in more reasonable paperback after that.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Two Melbourne cafés with ghost signs attached

Melbourne is well known for its coffee culture and its ghost signs, so it's not that much of a surprise that the two have met in recent years.

At least two cafés are operating in premises that have uncovered ghost signs on their walls - and have left the signs there to their advantage.

In fact, one, Mr Morse - just next to the railway bridge in Johnston Street, Abbotsford, has named itself after the large early 20th century Mr Morse's Indian Root Pills sign uncovered on a former external wall:

This sign is part of an intense marketing push by the Australian purveyors of a snake oil remedy originally from the US - as seen by many other large cobalt blue Indian Root Pills signs around the district, including the famous chicory kiln in Bacchus Marsh (below) and various other Root Pills sign uncoverings (see: http://findingtheradiobook.blogspot.com.au/search?q=root+pills). And for more details on Dr Morse's elixir, see the great Melbourne Circle blog for a fascinating history of the Indian Root Pills brand: https://melbournecircle.net/2015/05/09/layers-of-ghosts-on-abbotsford-street/

The second café is in Lower Heidelberg Road, Ivanhoe. Signwriter Larry Stammers alerted me to this great place after we met at a State Library talk recently. Funnily enough, when I went to take these pics recently, Larry was there having lunch. Again, the sign was painted on a former external wall. We wondered what oat company it might have been - possibly Uncle Toby's - there's a large faded ghost sign in St Georges Road in North Fitzroy that though very different in other ways has a similar curved swirl (any suggestions?)

This wall has an extra level of political interest too. Public external walls were used in much the same way that billboarders use construction sites and derelict buildings today - places to publicise events with posters. (See here for another example of posters being uncovered through building works: http://findingtheradiobook.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/spectacular-lewis-skinner-uncovering-in.html). This wall has a spectacular trace - a 1934 election poster for a candidate for the United Australia Party, the predecessor to today's Liberal Party. It's been nicely preserved on the wall:

Monday, April 18, 2016

New article about a ghost sign project in Ballarat

"COOPED up in her magnificent 19th century “office”, artist and researcher Amy Tsilemanis loves nothing more than researching Ballarat’s antique advertising signs and brochures.
Based in the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute library, Tsilemanis’ goal is to bring “old things to life in creative ways”. She is currently working on a project about the city’s “ghost advertising” on the sides of buildings – faded ads from the past."


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Modest uncovering in a tradionally immodest St Kilda street

This old real estate sign was recently uncovered in the heart of St Kilda's former centre of sin: Grey Street. Of course, it's rapidly gentrifying - as evidenced by the flash new apartments being built on this former down-at-heel site:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Online video of my recent talk on the Lewis & Skinner archive at the State Library of Victoria

If you've ever craved information on ghost signs, elephants, tea, online archives and mouldy documents, come and take a look here.

The videos by SLV Fellows are on the right hand side of the page: http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/library-fellows

Friday, February 19, 2016

Brilliant Nugget shoe polish sign on an old shop window in Middle Park

Drove by this on Canterbury Road the other day. What a beauty - and great that it's been kept:

This find reminded me of my earlier encounter with the remnants of a Nugget sign in Carlton that had been photographed years before by ghost sign aficionado John Hunter: http://findingtheradiobook.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/a-nugget-shoe-polish-sign-old-photo-and.html

Highett staples: Velvet Soap, Robur Tea and house paint

Today I was driving on Highett Road near the Highett Railway Station. I saw a glimpse of a painted paintbrush on a fascia, decided to give it a miss, then saw a European cake shop. Hmmm. Lunchtime. Worth a look then.

So I parked, got some food and walked down the street. Lucky I did - walking back the other way I stumbled on a palimpsest of signs that includes a Velvet Soap sign with a cartoon figure painted over the top:

I saw the sign from a small square across the road. There was something on the wall there too. I took a closer look - and realised it was the R and O from a large Robur Tea sign:


The paint shop fascia was there too, but hard to photograph from the other side of the busy road: