Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Ghost Signs of Newark

I guess a Ghost Sign is a sign, most commonly painted on brickwork, for a business no longer in operation at that premise. Obviously, age is a factor too, our Wimpey closed a few weeks ago, but you'd hardly call its iconic red and white sign a ghost sign! Likewise the endless failed businesses this town has had for American style soda shops, motorbike chop shops, nail bars and boutique fashions don't count either.

A ghost sign should also ideally look like a "ghost" sign, cracked and faded, looking like it might be fading back into the wall, giving its life force to the brickwork.

So, I've had a very fine time of it, out running and walking with my head in the air, trying to find as many examples of ghost signs as I can. I can't remember where they all are, and there's an area of town I've not managed to explore yet. But I've managed to collate a large number of these signs for you, some of which date back to Victorian times I'd say, and reflect both the brewing heritage of the town, and the importance of the Newark Navigation as a commercial waterway.

We do well to keep them in view.


Uncovered during the renovation of the old Blockbusters, this sign has now been already consigned back to oblivion.

Barely legible, but it's there

Might have been a greengrocer or florist here

The ghost was repainted ready for redevelopment down on the waterway

Home of the Navigation pub, unsurprisingly

Pelham Street. Exorcised from history.

Lombard Street, near Asda

Boar Lane

Cartergate, site of an old pub

A ghost sign for a pub that changed its name, and changed its name back again, thus de-ghosting the ghost

Got a feeling this one might have been imported onto this Millgate building

The Imperial Hall has been a snooker hall, a nightclub rejoicing in the name of "Bootleggers" and "Lightning Jacks", and now it's just a dark, damp empty space.


  1. Lovely to see and good job finding them, we visited Morpeth (Northumberland) on our way home, spent some time looking up at the old shop fronts as well as in them. (thought of you)
    Amanda xx

  2. Thanks! I reckon there's a fair few others I haven't found yet, so there may be a follow up post to this.

  3. Great post, made me feel quite sad and reminiscent of past times gradually fading, bit like your ghost signs .

  4. Thank you...the signs may be old, but they last longer than the frontage of the businesses that replaced them, gaudy boards and illuminated plastic