South Birmingham Ghost Signs

Elizabeth

Location: 172 Stoney Lane, Sparkbrook

 

Description: Advertisement for a former drapers shop visible on the side wall above the shop on Stoney Lane. 

 

Sign: Painted on a cream background the black lettering reads right side SOU. 3255. DRAPERY LINGERIE ETC with the name of the shop ELIZABETH diagonally across the sign and left side COATS COWANS FANCY GOODS. 

 

Background: At the top right of the advertisement a partial fragment of an earlier sign is visible with the letter S painted in red on a mustard background. 

Fine Furs

Location: 526 Stratford Road, Sparkhill

 

Description: Sign advertised the sale of furs at the premises when it traded as a fur shop. 

 

Sign: Painted on a white background with black lettering and mustard colour shadowing reads FINE FURS. 

 

Background: Stone plague on the facade of the building Torres Villa. 

 

 

Frank Deeley

Location: 65 Lordswood Road, Harborne

 

Description: Sign on the side of a residential house advertising Frank Deeley's decorating and building business. 

 

Sign: Black lettering is difficult to read but in full its reads F.DEELEY REG PLUMBER DECORATOR BUILDING REPAIRS DIAL HARBORNE 1881. 

 

Background: The sign made use of the good visibility of the wall for passing trade located just off the main High Street where Frank Deeley traded. 

Grocers

Location: 89 Addison Road, Kings Heath

 

Description: Fragment of advertisement for a grocer shop. 

 

Sign: Only the bottom section of a sign above a corner shop it has survived blue lettering with shadowing is painted on a cream background. 

 

Background: Its difficult to be certain about the signs origins but Kelly's trade directories list a Samuel Ball grocer at the premises around 1930.

Lillian Freeman

Location: 50-52 Mary's Row, Moseley

 

Description: Partial fragment of an advertising sign for Lillian Freeman's haberdashery which traded from the premises circa 1950. 

 

Sign: Painted on a white background red lettering read in full LILLIAN FREEMAN HOME HANDICRAFTS NEEDLEWORK KNITTING RUG WOOLS WHITEWOOD MODELLING AND FANCY LEATHERS. 

 

Background: Old Birmingham City Council planning photograph from the Library of Birmingham archives taken in 1957 shows the sign in full  click here.  

Lilliput & Housewife

Location: 1189 Pershore Road, Stirchley

 

Description: Two hand-painted magazine advertisements date from period when the shop was Willets & Sons Newsagents early to mid twentieth century.  

 

Sign:  Black lettering for Lilliput is painted in the style of the brands trademark logo. The advertisement for Housewife in contrast was painted with white lettering based on the company's original trade logo  which later changed to highlight emphasis the title as WIFE.  

 

Background: Lilliput monthly pocket magazine founded by photojournalist Stephen Lorant circa 1937, later became a men's nude magazine . Housewife was established in London around 1918 popular pocket sized magazine for women around 1960 re-branded itself focusing less on the an outdated view of the Housewife. 

Lucas Car Batteries

Location: 91A Moseley Road, Moseley  

 

Description: Advertisement for Lucas brand of car batteries found on the internal wall of a former garage repair workshop operated by Park Garages Ltd between  circa 1920-1960.

 

Sign: The distinctive sign painted on mustard and green background has deteriorated over the years and is only partially legible. In full it read ASK FOR LUCAS Britain's BEST Batteries GENUINE SPARES. 

 

Background: Joseph Lucas Ltd Was founded in Birmingham around 1897 and became one of Britain's largest manufactures of electrical equipment car batteries. The ghost sign is still visible behind the bar of Sorrento Lounge in Moseley village.

Robinsons Removals

Location: 585 Moseley Road, Balsall Heath

 

Description: Contemporary sign re-painted on the former Robinsons removals warehouse when it was converted into residential dwellings around 2001. 

 

Sign: White lettering painted directly to the brickwork evidence of an earlier sign underneath reads; REMOVALS ROBINSONS FURNITURE DEPOITORIES. 

 

Background: The building opened in circa 1920 following an expansion of the Manchester removal company founded in 1885 by Alfred Robinson. Read more and see old photographs of the building click here

Twinings

Location: 1 Foremans Road, Sparkbrook. 

 

Description: Large advertisement for Twinings tea and coffee on the side wall of a corner shop. 

 

Sign: Painted in the style of Twining brand black lettering reads TWININGS TEA and COFFEES with in red lettering FAMOUS SINCE 1702, includes illustrated character of Little Miss Barber. 

 

Background: Little Miss Barber character trade mark of Barber Tea later acquired by Twinings.   

Twinings

Location: 47 Silver Street, Kings Heath 

 

Description: Privileged advertisement carrying the name of the business G.M Smallwood grocers shop with Twinings advertisement painted underneath. 

 

Sign: Colour advertisement top section reads GROCERS G.M. SMALLWOOD lettering painted in white underneath black lettering reads TWINING FINE TEAS & COFFEES with Little Miss Barber illustration. 

 

Background:  Faded lettering from an older Twinings tea advertisement is visible on some sections; TEA BLENDED BY TWININGS.