Ghost Signs of Glasgow Blog: The Ghost of Christmas Past, by Lucia Marquez Leaman

I have started to watch the games of football on the grounds behind my flat with the rapt attention of a spectator in the stands.

Lockdown has transformed Glasgow from a great big city into what I can walk to within reason, a smaller and smaller circle as the pandemic has worn on.

On these walks around the East End, ghost signs have begun to appear to me, although I am sure they are not new. My favourite example is the former ‘VICE LAUNDRY’, three signs in one on Whitehill Street, now under construction.

What used to read ‘SELF-SERVICE LAUNDRY’ a business that has reviews online as recently as 2018 has now been collapsed into an attractive proposition, somewhere to clean yourself of bad habits. The two smaller signs that are only partially obscured read ‘McDougal & Sons’ a shop that provided both ‘retail’ and ‘wholesale’ according to the sign and the other sports ‘R.Gibb’ which also reads ‘Gents’ and ‘Ladies’. When I first moved to Dennistoun I would walk past these signs every day, I hope the new owners feel the same reverence over the sheer luck of having three well-conserved signs in one spot. 

Vice Laundry

A walk around the Barras revealed two incredibly well-preserved signs. Unfortunately, without the Mitchell Archives, we are limited in what we can say about these signs.

These signs are recently uncovered after a fire, there seem to be multiple layers of signs. One sign reads ‘confections’in a beautiful font, hopefully, once resources re-open we will be able to find the stories behind these signs. 

Ghost Sign, Barras

Alexandra Parade is an old high street so it makes sense that ghost signs have popped up. These signs include one that says ‘J.Wilson’, one that reads ‘B&M Electrics’ and further down the road towards COOP and Iceland there is a mysterious sign over a doorway. This sign shows the outline of faded paint, all layered on top of each other, a salad of fonts and letters. You have to look closely but it is a beautiful archaic puzzle to try and figure out. 

J. Wilson

I acknowledge the limits that the pandemic has placed on this blog, unfortunately, I am bound by the times, but I hope it serves as a miniature guide or mapping out of some recently found ghost-signs in the East End. 

"Word Salad"

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