Posts Tagged ‘shop’

A Real Ghost Sign

January 8, 2014

Ghosts! Believe in them or not – that doesn’t interest me. What interests me is things re-appearing from the past. If haunting is bad, then the signs I look for certainly don’t haunt me, but they do fascinate me.

Take a former shop in a neighbouring village. Up until the 1950s a Mr Godfrey had the shop and had his name painted in big letters on the side of the shop. Before that, Mr Walton had it and he, too, had his name painted on the shop. Going back into Victorian times, Mr Draper had the shop. Guess what, he too had his name painted on the shop. It is Mr Draper that has recently returned.

Let’s look at the paintwork there was in 1973.


At that time the ghost of Mr Walton was returning as the newest paint, that of Mr Godfrey, was worn away by the ravages of time and weather. Mr Godfrey was still clearly there, but his base paint that covered the old sign had been less hard wearing allowing us to know that Mr Walton had a bakery and supply store and another branch to his business elsewhere.

I took a photo of the sign in the run up to Christmas in 2013. And this is what we see this time.


We have just about said farewell to Mr Walton, swept into oblivion by those sands of time. But the ghost of Mr Draper has burst through – albeit still beneath that tough paint used by Mr Godfrey.

You need patience to witness such changes and that’s where I’ll say to those hasty travellers who flit hither and thither in search of something, ‘you miss a lot’. But each to their own taste but never for one moment allow yourself to believe that your way is the best way, let alone the only way. We are all different and different life styles suit different personalities. Now I can enjoy a bit of travel and I do think it can help to make sense of our own way of life. But I also love the fact that I can return to a spot forty years on and see the changes.

Who knows, I might find my photos of lichen growing sometime. Now there’s something to look forward to!



September 30, 2013

My wife had ancestors who were based around the West Cornwall town of Redruth. We are looking at a non-family postcard today which shows what we may call a significant area of Redruth and has a message which is just possibly family related.

Here’s the picture.


Fore Street is the main road through Redruth. It might, perhaps have been called high Street, for it is like ‘High Street’ in other towns. The street, as we can see in this Edwardian image, is lined with shops and inns. And a clock tower stands tall above the other buildings.

This picture is just slightly annoying to us, for at the extreme left hand edge we have a little portion of the shop which great grandfather, William Hall had. He died in 1907 and he had not been a draper all his life. He had been, like many a West Cornishman, a miner and as with many other miners he had spent time abroad to seek his fortune. And maybe he found enough of one to come back and give up the pick and shovel for the more peaceful life of a draper with his own business.

Now let’s look at that message, remembering that post cards, in the Edwardian era, were very much like the text message of today.

It appears to be dated 6/31/07 which I take to mean 31st June 1907

It goes on:

Dear Uncle and Aunt
The old street of Red Ruth.
Was down there this morning and also up to Carn Brea.
The folks are well and we are going to see Aunt Williams this pm and then to Porthtowan.

Could any of this mean our relatives? Well, William Hall’s wife had been a Williams – Grace Williams – so it could be. But Williams is a very common Cornish surname.

Now let’s see where the card was going.


It was sent on 2nd July 1907 from Redruth to Mr H R Walton in Kewanee in the USA.

I could almost get excited here for Great Grandad had brothers in Keweenah but that is in Michigan – quite a different place from the Illinois town this card went to.

From US censuses I think the recipient was a Hercules R Walton who had been born in Illinois in 1855. I know of no link to our family.

The post card is still lovely – but if only it showed more of great grandfather’s shop!