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Birmingham Ghost Signs



Birmingham Ghost Signs was a documentary photography project by Tracey Thorne who recorded hand-painted advertising signs found in Birmingham for over seven years. These signs are often called "ghost signs".


It is the largest photographic survey of ghost signs in Birmingham with over 180 ghost signs photographed and historical research on the signs undertaken. The oldest sign dates from 1870, but these are rare finds as decades of development mean they are often hidden from view. The largest group of signs were painted in the early part of the twentieth century, and they help us imagine what the city once looked like when its walls were adorned with hand-painted signs.


In 2020 an Arts Council England grant provide an opportunity to make a series of ten monochrome screenprints of a set of ghost signs found in the Jewellery Quarter and Digbeth. These were shown in the Faded City exhibition and a limited-edition Ghost Signs Zine accompanies the series available here.

© Tracey Thorne 2022
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