Ghost Signs – A Spicknell, Greengrocer of Anerley Road

I noticed this ghost sign on Anerley Road a few weeks ago when I was stopped at the traffic lights at a pedestrian crossing next to it; it is tucked away in a slight gap between two shops and under some overhanging eaves which have protected it from the weather. I must have driven or run past it dozens of times but never noticed it probably because the eye is drawn more to the rather fine building that used to be Anerley Town Hall which is opposite; it would probably be best seen from the top of a bus. I went back on foot to take a few photos.

Arthur Spicknell was a greengrocer at 121 Anerley Road in Penge (1913 Kelly’s Directory), he had moved to Penge in the late 1870s from Alderbury in Wiltshire, working initially as a greengrocers assistant (1881 census) whilst living in Maple Terrace (presumably part of Maple Road) a couple of hundred metres down the hill in Penge.

The bottled fruits and jams that he was happy to be associated with were presumably of T W Beach of Brentford who won prizes at Covent Garden and the 1851 Great Exhibition. Beach apparently lived in the delightfully named ‘Strawberry House.’

There are the remains of a second sign underneath the one for Spicknell’s – the only bits I could decipher, even with some help from Photoshop, were ‘S C Du ‘. Google showed that that I wasn’t the first blogger to have noticed the sign, or that there might be something below. Sébastien Ardouin of the Painted Signs and Mosaics blog had been there six years before (and had found out a lot more about T W Beach). There had been a bit more to see of what lay underneath then ….

S. C. Du…
Auction Valuer / …edd… Manufacturer
… …ouse Agents

Armed with this information, it was possible to find out some more. The National Archives, showed that London Borough of Bromley held some information on

This firm, according to its advertisements, was established in 1873. It closed in 1914. The firm had its warehouse and showrooms at 25 Station Road, Anerley from the 1870s and for some time a depository at 60 Oakfield Road (they also carried out removals and storage of house contents). From about 1895 they also had premises at 99 Anerley Road, Penge.

This would all make some sense as to why a sign on the side of a shop 100 metres away would be appropriate. The 1873 version of the firm was at least the second that a Samuel Charles Dunk had set up, as the London Gazette reported his bankruptcy in 1869 and subsequent discharge later that year.

The second business, and the one on the sign, was probably set up by a son of an identical name. Samuel Dunk, Senior, was born in Catsfield, near Hastings in 1828, but died during the 1870s. Samuel Dunk, Junior, was born in Hastings in 1855 and had probably moved to Penge in the early 1860s, as the 1881 census has his brother being born there.. He was a carpenter in 1871, but by 1881 the census had him employing two men in his upholstery business, and had sufficient income to employ a servant.


2 thoughts on “Ghost Signs – A Spicknell, Greengrocer of Anerley Road

  1. WalkToRio

    A simple washed off sign and that much history.
    I gotta pay more attention to se signs around where I live, granted there’s gotta be some really nice things to discover.

  2. Pingback: Unpeeling Layers of Late-Victorian Signwriting | Ghostsigns

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.