Tracey Thorne, a PhD Typography researcher at Birmingham City University, draws attention to historical ghost-signs dotted all around Birmingham – the remains of painted advertisements that can still be faintly seen on many Victorian and Edwardian buildings throughout the city.
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The signs can usually be found at the front or gable end of a building, though some have been painted over old signs which can make them hard to distinguish.
Tracey says: “Before neon and vinyl signs were used, businesses would employ sign-writers to produce their signs. You wouldn’t have been able to walk down a street in Birmingham without seeing them in the 19thCentury”. She has worked with the Birmingham Conservation Trust to map images of ghost-signs across the West Midlands to preserve and capture the history of the advertisements and signs as an insight into their way of life.
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