01 Dec Ghost Signs in Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs
Ghost signs are those fading painted signs that quietly narrate the history of urban landscapes. They are a whisper from the past, an echo of a bygone era that still clings to the walls of our cities and towns, a visual legacy of times and trades long forgotten. This blog will explore the charm and significance of these spectral advertisements and how they serve as a tangible connection to our collective history.
The beauty of ghost signs lies in their ability to tell a story. Each peeling layer of paint, each faded letter, speaks volumes about the social, economic, and cultural context of its time. They are like pages from a history book, except these pages are plastered on the sides of buildings, waiting for an observant eye to read them. In Margate, Ramsgate, and Broadstairs, these signs are not just remnants of old advertisements but are historical artefacts that offer a glimpse into the life and times of these coastal towns.
Think of a ghost sign as a form of public art; it’s unintentional, but over time, it acquires an aesthetic value. The signs, once bright and bold, calling attention to products or services, now exist in a subdued state, their faded elegance a stark contrast to the modern digital advertisements we are bombarded with today. They remind us of a time when signwriting was an art form, a time when the font, size, and color of each letter were carefully considered to capture the essence of what they were advertising.
But beyond their aesthetic appeal, ghost signs are a testament to the history of commerce and trade in a given area. They tell us what was important to the people of that era, what they bought, what they sold, and how they lived. In this sense, ghost signs are not just relics of the past but also indicators of societal change.
As I begin to share my collection of photographs of ghost signs from around Margate, Ramsgate, and Broadstairs, I invite you to view them not just as old, fading signs, but as a narrative tapestry of our shared history. Each photograph will be accompanied by a little history, shedding light on the origin of the sign, the business it advertised, and its relevance to the community at the time.