Ghost sign!

Despite a) it being pretty prominent and b) having walked past it gads knows how many times before, I noticed this ghost sign on the way home the other day. Ghost signs are the remains of a bygone age of advertising,  where bright signs were painted directly onto the sides of buildings, often of mixed business/residential use. Its located on the side of a house on King's Road, Cardiff, opposite Hamilton Street. You can see it on Google Streetview.
'EST.B. 1898 C.E. WATTS, Book Repairing DEPOT'
Creative Commons Licence
'EST.B. 1898 C.E. WATTS, Boot Repairing DEPOT' by David Colwill is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA License.
You've got to love that classic pointing hand. Otherwise this one is relatively unadorned, relying on typographical elements. This may help it's legibility today, many of the more graphical and visually accomplished ghost signs are much harder to make out nowadays.

From the proud date of establishment, this one must have been painted sometime last century, which does not narrow it down much. It should be possible to trace the tenure of C.E. Watts boot* repair depot however.

Its a true relic of a previous age. The rise first of the mass market cheap paperback and later of price-driven supermarket and online retailing drove most specialists such as this out of business because there just was no longer a demand for their expensive services. Today, there are just a few book printing outfits or their ancillaries remaining in Cardiff out of the many that used to be tucked down her backalleys. *UPDATE: I'd erroneously read this ghost sign as a book repair rather than boot repair depot! Thankfully a friend pointed out my mistake. Nonetheless, it is testament to a passed age, when numerous small businesses in the inner city areas would carry out such activities. Even the idea of repairing boots has the slight air of the past to it nowadays. Although it's coming back into fashion to purchase and look after such items, there are but a few shops that repair as well as sell boots in Cardiff, and otherwise it's down to the keysmiths who have taken over the duties of the cobblers and footware repairers of old.


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