In 2020 we were approached by Sam Roberts asking whether Diespeker would like to be included in a book about ghost signs in London. Sam had come across an old Diespeker sign at Diespeker Wharf in Graham Street, London N1. This is where the company was based until three decades ago, when operations moved to our current location in Bermondsey.
So what exactly are ghost signs? They are faded hand painted advertisements for businesses and products, left in situ on the walls where they were painted. And they are in evidence in more places than you might think – in fact, the book includes around 250 of them.
“They reveal fascinating stories of everyday life in the capital. From births and deaths to bombs and whiskey, and Alf the Purse King to Bonsoir Pyjamas, each sign has its own story to tell – not just of the business it represents and the people behind it, but of its own improbable survival.”
After Sam got in touch we were keen to be involved, and contributed towards crowdfunding for the book, the most comprehensive account of ghost signs ever published. It includes essays on how the signs were produced, their restoration and conservation.
The book provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of our capital city, and the artistry of those who created the signs. We think it is a real triumph, and we’re proud that Diespeker is included, especially in this, our 140th year in business.
To find out more and purchase the book click here.
The words and photos in the book are by Sam Roberts and Roy Reed, with an introduction by Wayne Hemingway.