Displaying Ghost Signs Online

Hyde, Colin and Barnes, Amy Jane (2016). Displaying Ghost Signs Online. In: Schutt, Stefan; Roberts, Sam and White, Leanne eds. Advertising and Public Memory: Social, Cultural and Historical Perspectives on Ghost Signs. Routledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies. Routledge.

URL: https://www.routledge.com/Advertising-and-Public-M...

Abstract

As a case study for ghost signs Leicester is an interesting location. A post-industrial city that has been through periods of both decline and regeneration in recent years, Leicester contains many painted wall advertisements, dating from the early to mid-twentieth century (with some earlier examples). We have been documenting the ghost signs of Leicester over the last decade as useful sources of information about former businesses and industries within the city, as well as for their aesthetic value and in recognition of their ephemeral nature. This photographic record is complemented by two further collections of photographs that feature ghost signs, the first dating from the 1990s, and the second, a series of general photographs of Leicester dating from the 1950s to the 1970s. These collections are important resources documenting the changes in Leicester’s ghost signs over the past two decades. The photographs, with accompanying historical details, form a core component of the University of Leicester’s My Leicestershire History, an online, open-access website that is part of the University of Leicester’s Special Collections Online, described as “series of digital resources from the David Wilson Library” (University of Leicester n.d.). While the resource covers the wider county, this chapter provides a summary of the state of ghost signs in Leicester, an analysis of how they have changed over time, and the particular value of creating a digital collection of ghost signs as part of a larger online resource that enables cross-referencing between collections.

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