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Jeffrey Johnson’s Favourite Signs

July 1, 2016
by the gentle author

Mysterious Photographer Jeffrey Johnson deposited a stack of his pictures from the seventies and eighties with Archivist Stefan Dickers at the Bishopsgate Institute recently, including these photos of signs and ghost signs. Sharing Jeffrey’s relish at this magnificent array, I cannot resist the feeling that he is one after my own heart in savouring both the poetry and aesthetics of London’s old signage.

Win her affections with A1 Confections

Temporary office staff urgently required

Permanent waving clubs held here

More news than in any other daily paper

English clock system

Barry Lampert – Your choice for Hackney

The best food for the whole family sold here

Home cured haddocks & bloaters

The noted house for paper bags

£40 worth for four shillings weekly

Families and dealers supplied

Harris the sign king

Headache draughts

Progressive working class catering

For that natural just combed look

Radio London wireless said ‘The cosy fish bar in Whitecross St serves the best quality fish & chips in London.’

See the light…taste the light

We specialies in suits, donkey coats, officers uniforms, belts & braces, sailors clothing…

Laying out & measuring up undertaken

Photographs copyright © Jeffrey Johnson

You may also like to took at

Jeffrey Johnson’s Favourite Spots

Jeffrey Johnson’s Favourite Pubs

19 Responses leave one →
  1. July 1, 2016

    I love these, especially: horse clothing (I imagine it was bespoke), less noise please (good advice in any era), and the All in One kennel meals. Lovely photos.

  2. July 1, 2016

    Wonderful collection of signs with so much humour, thanks for sharing. Valerie

  3. July 1, 2016

    That last one is hilarious!

  4. Sue permalink
    July 1, 2016

    Loving the idea of a Permanent Waving Club. Sounds such a cheery idea that we could do with in these dark days!

  5. Libby permalink
    July 1, 2016


    There are several signs here that I’ve known and loved, including my all time favourite – one that I used to pass every day on my way to work – ‘Progressive Working Class Caterers’.

    With these, and the previous selections of his photographs, Jeffrey Johnson is a man after my own heart as well.

  6. Sarah permalink
    July 1, 2016

    A fabulous collection. An excellent way to start my day!! Thank you.

  7. July 1, 2016

    Interesting stuff. COMMIT – NO – NUISANCE is still there, in Doyce Street, Southwark.

  8. Robert Green permalink
    July 1, 2016

    Lovely piece of nostalgia, I like the colour quality of the photos to it seems to add to the period feel, the “Tea Rooms” at Holborn use to be a virtual institution in that area it was run by the same lady for decades, it was very sad when it closed down just a single sheet of paper was fixed to the window thanking everyone for their custom over the years, for quiet a time after it closed it stayed exactly the same just empty, I took lots of photos of it myself, I also took photos of the 1951 Festival of Britain logo to, its on a building in Oxford St, nice collection.

  9. Richard permalink
    July 1, 2016

    A great collection. I see the Quality Chop house was recommended by Time Out. There are still a few Coffee Taverns dotted about, including one in Pott Shrigley made of corrugated iron.

  10. Stephen permalink
    July 1, 2016

    I love ghost signs. “Home cured haddocks and bloaters” is still there even now – in High Street, Cheshunt (note the Waltham Cross phone number).

  11. Philip Marriage permalink
    July 1, 2016

    These are so interesting – Jeffrey’s worthy record of times past – more please!

  12. July 1, 2016

    ‘Win Her Affection with A.1. Confections’ was in Albion Parade, Albion Road, Stoke Newington, presumably the same one. Are the locations of the photos recorded?

  13. pauline taylor permalink
    July 1, 2016

    These are great, I love typography, shop signs and all that sort of thing. Something else I feel which is no longer half as good as it used to be so it is lovely to see these examples from a really interesting collection. I hope that there will be more?

  14. Malcolm permalink
    July 1, 2016

    Great pictures. Jeffrey is a great photographer.
    S. Grant was in West India Dock Road, Limehouse, next to the old Eastern Hotel which later became the Londoner. They sold army surplus stock and men’s clothing. I used to buy my Levis there. There were so many interesting shops along that stretch of West India Dock Road from the Eastern Hotel to the West India Dock gates. Charlie Brown’s pub was on the corner of Garford Street too. The Hope Mission was also in Limehouse.

  15. July 1, 2016

    Great to see these! I remember the Daily Chronicle and News of the World signs well. They were on Wick Road, just around the corner from the Tiger pub, Kenworthy Rd E9.

  16. SarahC permalink
    July 2, 2016

    The A1 Confections sign used to be a highlight of the 73 bus route in the 1990s. Looking at Google Streetview, the health food shop that’s there now has a banner in exactly the same place, so I suspect it’s still lurking underneath.

  17. July 2, 2016

    GA, have you ever seen the splendid sign at Mecklenburg Square? If you walk down Grays Inn Road, heading south, it is there on the right hand side. I like to think of Lord Peter Wimsey noting it as he visited Harriet Vane. Worth a peruse.

  18. Isis permalink
    July 5, 2016

    What a lovely collection. I imagine most of these are now gone, though of course Donovan Bros is beautifully restored and the Quality Chop House soldiers on (thought without the tea room!). Scenes from a disappeared world, though with a few glimpses left like Boleyn Ground and environs.

  19. Shawdian permalink
    July 17, 2016

    EXCELLENT signs! Love these: All Drivers of Vehicles Should Walk Their Horses, Yorkshire Stingo Ales, We are born Yorkshire babies but not heard of this Stingo Ale 🙂 and Commit No Nuisance and Less Noise Please Consider The Office Upstairs! Fabulous. So many good signes here make me laugh. Signs of when People could be People and express themselves – Far Too Much PC now and I do not mean of the computer type …

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