Ghost Signs of Glasgow

Ghost Signs of Glasgow is a project initiated by Glasgow City Heritage Trust which unearths the stories behind old signs and shopfronts of the city. Ghost signs, the fading remains of old painted signs on buildings, provide an invaluable insight into Glasgow’s architectural, social and cultural history. Many ghost signs hide in plain sight hidden by the urban landscape around them, leaving a tangible part of Glasgow’s heritage vulnerable to being lost forever.

Since 2018 the project has been revealing, researching and documenting ghost signs in Glasgow in order to create an online archive and to expand our collective knowledge about these remnants of Glasgow’s past. We have organised guided walks, talks and workshops, and made maps of these signs and shopfronts across the city.

Now run by volunteers, the project is continuing for 2020-21 and hopes to continue to engage people with Glasgow’s historic environment and encourage communities to share their memories of the city. This next phase will include a touring exhibition, as well as joint activity with the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum and various talks and workshops

Follow @Ghostsignsgla on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook for updates or email ghostsigns@glasgowheritage.org.uk

Read the project blog posts below and scroll down to browse our photo archive.

"The best thing about volunteering on this project (apart from meeting everyone!) is the amount of amazing and random things we have in our city that we simply don’t notice at first glance. To learn the history of buildings, who used them and when, is amazing and it means we can preserve the history a little bit longer. I love taking the pictures of the signs and helping to create a lasting archive."

Ghost Signs of Glasgow Blog: A Practical Guide to Historic Signs

For this month’s Blog, we’re talking to Building Conservator & Educator, Darren McLean, for some insight into why many of the Glasgow Ghost Signs have survived for so long. J: Can you give us an introduction to yourself and the work you do Darren?  D: Well, I’ve a passion for historic buildings and I’m fortunate [...]

Ghost Signs of Glasgow Blog: Ghost Signs of a different kind, by Karen Rennie

I happened to be scrolling through Twitter one day and saw a post about Ghost Signs of Glasgow. Intrigued, I started to follow it and enjoyed the idea of all the past lives they would bring to light. They put out a request for volunteers to help start the Ghost Signs journey. I was just [...]

Ghost Signs of Glasgow blog: The Talisman Bar, Springburn -When is something worth documenting, but not preserving? by Rachel Campbell

Earlier this year the community in Springburn celebrated the news that the Talisman Bar would finally be demolished. By April 2021 this work has almost been completed. This victory comes after over 25 years of campaigning from local community groups who raised concerns over the health and safety of the building. Over the years it [...]

Planning exhibitions in the time of COVID, by Rachel Campbell

Ghost Signs of Glasgow is planning to  launch an online exhibition very soon. An exhibition was always an end goal for the project, but if you had told us back in 2019 we would be planning for this in the midst of a pandemic I’m not sure any of us would have believed you. I [...]

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

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.

‘Ghost Signs Conference’ by Jan Graham

Thurs 17th September | 5-9pm

Book your free ticket now for the Ghost Signs Conference with speakers from across Britain and Ireland sharing insights and experiences of the faded historic hand painted signs and wall murals found in their cities.

“The times are a-changing: Ghost Signs of Glasgow project enters a new phase” By Jan Graham

These past months have undoubtedly been very strange times to live through, but for many they have also been a time to see our city anew. The surreal photographs of familiar thoroughfares, that circulated in recent months, pictured a city completely bereft of people. The built environment was brought into focus in many ways, during [...]

Take a walk on the ghost side: download our Ghost Signs of Glasgow maps! by Lauren Campbell

Ghost Signs of Glasgow is excited to announce the digital launch of three maps with carefully selected Ghost Signs, enabling you to discover hidden stories of Glasgow.

Indoor Ghost Signs: Old Fruitmarket, Britannia Panopticon and Argyll Arcade. By Julie Paterson

Explore some of the city’s indoor ghost signs with our latest blog post.

W R Grieve: Looking into the fabric of Glasgow. By Lauren Campbell

At 450 and 436 Sauchiehall Street, now home to Pizza Express, Bank of China and Indian Gallery, once stood the business of William Robertson Grieve, a couture dress maker, mantle maker and silk mercer. From 1905 this building functioned as headquarters of a series of warehouses, producing and selling a wide range of clothing items. [...]

Miller’s 1893, A sign spanning four generations. By Lucia Marquez-Leaman.

he history behind Ghost Signs often feels like it is pulling away from the researcher, a train leaving the station into obscurity. However, learning about Miller’s 1893 was the furthest experience from that.

Old street signs and Christmas wishes!

BY JULIE PATERSON With Christmas fast approaching and the season of merriment in full swing, many of us Glaswegians will be heading out to meet friends and family around the city for evenings filled with fun, laughter, tradition and nostalgia.  As we head home weary but happy, we’ll probably walk down familiar streets with familiar [...]

Pipe bands, whisky and a Roll Royce, the fascinating story behind Red Hackle ghost sign:

For this month blog, Ghost Signs of Glasgow volunteer Fiona Murray explores the story behind the Red Hackle ghost sign.

Ghost Signs of Glasgow, a volunteer perspective.

Ghost Signs of Glasgow volunteer, Maggie Smith, gives an insight into her role as a researcher volunteer.

Blog Post: Ghosts and Zombies

Read our latest blog post about our Ghost Signs of Glasgow project, pondering the nature of ghost signs and what they tell us about the urban landscape.

G.S. Nicol: The Life Behind the Sign

Find out more about the origins of our Ghost Signs of Glasgow project in this blog post by volunteer Taylor McDaniel.

Ghost Signs of Glasgow

Ghost Signs of Glasgow is a new project by Glasgow City Heritage Trust which will be unearthing the stories behind old signs and shopfronts of the city. We are excited to invite you to the launch of this very special new project for 2019, where we will also be unveiling something new at the GCHT offices!

Ghost Signs Photo Archive

Ghost Signs

Browse our online photo archive on Flickr! Click the left and right arrows on the picture to the left to scroll through the images, or hover over the top left hand corner and click on the title to go straight to Flickr.

"Ghost signs are gems of information on our social history whose story will be lost when the sign is lost and they add to our understanding of a period of time, sometimes even connected to our present."