Allerton Road, L18

We really can’t get enough of this fab new book from Caroline and Phil Bunford: Liverpool Ghost Signs (History Press), an illustrated trawl through our city’s gable ends, avenues and alleyways, searing out the ghostly remains of painted-on adverts.

The palimpsest of a mercantile city.

Oh and talking of tiles (sort of), who knew Liverpool had more mosaics than a sprawling Roman villa? There’s a whole chapter on them in here.

A fascinating document of an ephemeral slice of the city’s history, many of the images in the book are of adverts (and buildings) now wiped from the city’s map for ever. Many more cling tenaciously on. All make for a sideways look at our social history.

Caroline’s a keen local historian, and she’s written about her online Ghost Signs project for us in the past – now she and Phil have collected 150 of them in this brilliant little book.

“I became aware of a project being set up via Flickr to digitally preserve these signs. The Ghost Signs Archive is now up and running and photographers from all over the UK and Ireland have submitted their photos to create an enviable resource for future historians.”

“The hand painted advertising signs were commissioned to appear on brick walls to attract consumers and to spread the word of some of the bigger companies,” she says. “They reached their peak before the mass printed advertising posters began to be used and traditional sign writing slumped into decline.

“My particular favourites are the many cow keeper and dairy ghost signs which hark back to a time when we had a small dairy on almost every street in the city. This service ended when greater hygiene regulations were introduced.”

Stuck for a last minute gift for your dad? You’re looking at it.

Liverpool Ghost Signs (£11.69)
The History Press