Take a look at 13 'Ghost Signs' in Northampton...can you help Historic England find the rest?

“These mysterious pieces of secret history are a special reminder of the people who came before us.”

Take a look at 13 ‘Ghost Signs’ which have been spotted in Northampton so far for a new historical online map… can you help find the rest?

Ahead of Halloween, Historic England (HE) is inviting the public to share images and information of ghost signs across England on a new online map to help it better understand these pieces of hidden history.

What are ghost signs?

Ghost signs can come in many forms. They are typically historic hand-painted advertising signs or old shop signs preserved on buildings which have since changed use, according to HE

Often found in urban areas, ghost signs are an important part of the historic fabric on our high streets. These faded relics can tell us much about our collective architectural, cultural and social history, says HE.

A HE spokesman said: “They give us a window into how buildings were once used and have changed over time, as well as what products were popular and how they were advertised to the public.

“Once you start looking up on high streets and hunting for ghost signs, you’ll find that they’re hidden in plain sight, tucked away down alleyways or hiding among rooftops. These mysterious pieces of secret history are a special reminder of the people who came before us, and the urban spaces and high streets they made their own. We want to hear what people know and love about their local ghost signs, and to create a map that we can all use to explore this evocative part of our urban heritage.”

Where are they in Northampton?

So far, a Facebook group called Ghost Signs UK has listed the following streets in Northampton where ghost signs have been spotted:

  • Ambush Street, St James,
  • Stenson Street, St James
  • Marriott Street, Semilong
  • Spencer Road, Spencer
  • Knightley Road, Queen’s Park
  • London Road, Cotton End x 3
  • Cambridge Street, Semilong
  • Earl Street, Mounts
  • York Road, town centre
  • Stanley Road, Semilong

Graham Croucher, chair of Northampton Transport Heritage Group, said: "Painted advertising and information signs hold a fascinating and purposeful place in our history, they are a typographical art festival of the now faded art of sign writing, like the art the signs have also faded, hence the title "ghost signs". These are a wonderful visual spectacle and window into social history. It is to be welcomed that Historic England are now at last curating an official record of these wonders before they fade away and are lost forever. We are fortunate that some, small and large, can be spotted across the town, and they make for interesting viewing."

Have you spotted any other Ghost Signs in Northampton? If so, feel free to contact [email protected] with a picture of the sign and the street it is based in to feature in a photo gallery.