Heading away from Birmingham city at the bottom of Great Hampton Street (north side) is a tall pair of nineteenth century town houses number 2-3 shown in the photograph above in colour with two retail units below: number 2 Hampton Bookshop with its shutter down and number 3 Chris's CAFE. Grade II listed they sit just on the edge of the Jewellery Quarter outside the conservation area.
On a sunny day when the light is right the presence of an old advertisement can just be made out across the facade of number 3. The advertisement was mostly likely painted between 1910-30 for Hall & Co Ltd, who were electroplate manufactures listed in trade directories from the period at the premises.
If you stand across the road from the buildings you can just about read at the top above the third floor windows the name HALL & CO LTD.
An old photograph posted to the Birmingham History Forum taken circa 1964 shows the facade of number 3 above Hampton Cafe painted. Presumably a layer of emulsion was used to cover up the advertisement.
Overtime this paint has worn off and revealed the partial fragments of a sign for Hall & Co Ltd. We don't know if all the lettering on the facade was part of Hall & Co's original advertisement and part of the puzzle deciphering it maybe due to presence of an earlier sign(s)?
Hall & Co would have operated from the upper floors accessed via a door next to the ground floor cafe giving access to all upper floors and rear workshops. The buildings have been vacant for several decades and are in extremely poor condition.
The interior on the first floor has a bar and pink wallpaper with a number of photographic magazines/supplements suggesting that it was used for entertaining purposes at some stage. The upper floors are consistent with its use as a manufactory.
Read the ghost sign entry here.