The writings on the wall

Ghost signs – those faded advertisements for long forgotten businesses – found on the walls of old buildings – are among the most potent reminders of a bygone age – and nowhere are they found in greater abundance or variety than on the streets of Bath.


Over 160 ghost signs are featured in a new book researched, written and published by Andrew Swift and Kirsten Elliott – two local historians well known for previous publications on pubs, canals, railways and the city of Bath itself.


This latest book reveals a hidden urban history with the ghost signs featured arranged in a series of short walks and with historic maps to guide you through the city streets.


I met up with Andrew and asked him to tell me more about this early form of commercial advertising.

Ghost Signs of Bath – by Andrew Swift and Kirsten Elliott – is published by Akeman Press and is available in many of Bath’s better bookshops for £16.99. You can also get it direct via