Ghost signs


Whitby Civic Society aims to protect and promote the heritage of the town. Ghost Signs are an important part of the history and heritage of a place and can provide fascinating echoes of the past. Ghost Signs can include adverts painted on gable ends, the names of long ago traders in the form of painted letters, illustrations, tiles or beautifully carved stonework. Many such signs are gradually disappearing and may eventually fade away completely, destroying the link to the past. 

We are lucky in Whitby to have many examples of Ghost Signs. They include the old Whitby/Ruswarp Parish boundary stone clearly visible on Flowergate, stone steps that once led to the original Wesleyan Chapel off Church Street and which now remain in glorious isolation, and splendid examples of beautiful, original glazed tiles which despite many changes over many years remain to betray the names of long ago trades. 

A wonderful Ghost Sign is seen high up on the Wellington Road side of the building currently occupied by Brown & Kidson solicitors. Fading letters show the business named ARTHUR SAWDON once occupied these premises and a glance up at the New Quay Road side of the building shows Mr Sawdon dealt with CARPETS and BEDDING. On either side of the entrance to the same building, you can see beautiful, colourful tiles speaking of the WELLINGTON ROOMS and an even earlier business, a Mr George Thompson who appears particularly versatile dealing in tuning and repairing organs and pianos and who was also an auctioneer and valuer.

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Whitby Civic Society member Peter Craggs has so far identified and documented over 36 Ghost Signs which make a wonderful presentation. A spin-off talk, Whitby Treasures has presented by Peter . 

If you are aware of any signs that you feel we may not know about then please Contact us. We would gladly investigate further and happily add them to our Ghost Signs collection, thank you.