Hackney ghost sign crowned one of the best in London
- Credit: © Roy Reed 2018
After six gruelling rounds of knockout competition on Twitter, Bloom's Piano's 'ghost sign' on Kingsland Road has been crowned second best in London.
Life-long Hackney resident Sam Roberts, also known as Mr Ghostsigns and co-author of the book Ghost Signs: A London History, hosted the tournament after becoming fascinated with the fading remains of hand-painted advertising signs.
He said: "It all started for me in Stoke Newington with the Walker Bros/Waterman's sign [on Church Street]."
The online competition saw 5,000 votes cast with the best ghost sign in the capital given to Peterkin Custard on St John's Hill in Battersea.
Ghost signs, also known as fading ads, are vintage painted signs displayed on old brick buildings across London.
Bloom's Pianos sign on Kingsland Road, next to the Museum of the Home, came in second place.
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Bloom was the adopted name of Russian immigrant and master cabinet maker Philip Blumher who spent more of the 1930s trading in Shoreditch.
Sam said: "This sign has a little bit of everything: scale; illustration; confident language; elastic lettering; and the sign writer's signature. It’s also in palimpsest, but the older layer is so far impossible to make out.
"In 2012 the sign was added to the Local List at Hackney Council in recognition of its artistic and aesthetic merit, and historical value. However, this hasn’t prevented the graffiti that is gradually creeping up the wall."
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Third place went to Meggezones on Noyna Road in Tooting.
Sixty-four entrants were shortlisted for the online competition from the 250 fading painted wall signs whose stories are told in the book.
The book was produced thanks to a fundraiser which has seen almost £30,000 pledged.
Other ghost signs in Hackney include Cakebread Robey & Co at a former builders merchants on Tyssen Road and Hartcraft sign which advertised a furniture-making business once run by Elizabeth Hart on Minerva Street.
Player's Please is another sign advertising Player's cigarettes on Kemey's Street on the corner of Kenworthy Road.