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Blog Post By Harry Mottram

Loving those beautiful old signs

There's something magical about old fashioned trade signs.

In particular those ones finished in bright enamel that used to adorn railway platforms, end of terrace brick walls and any space in the high street. Colmans Mustard, Sunlight Soap, Craven A cigarettes and just about any beer you can name. From the everyday household item to the exotic sounding. Rich in prime colours, bright and cheerful with a positive note – and of course politically incorrect on just about every level.

You still see the odd one in situ – that's somehow escaped being replaced – usually left to rust in an alcove or a derelict building. Or there are those ghost signs that appear in certain lights. The original fixture or sign has long disappeared but in its place is an outline of what was once there.

Today most museums have some form of collection of these magnificent pieces of street culture graphic art. Beamish near Sunderland has a superb collection and of course they are on display on the buildings in their living history street – often used as a film location for period films.

I thought I'd share these one with you: the beauty of the signs at Sandford Railway Station and Heritage Centre in North Somerset. Back in the spring I was shooting a fashion spread for a magazine and at the time the signs were simply the backdrop, but they (I think you'll agree) are pretty stunning themselves.
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