An incredibly well preserved and detailed sign has emerged from the protection of another more recent advertising hoarding on the side of 41 Masons Hill, close to Bromley South station. It was on the side of the business that it relates to.
James Morton Crouch was born in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire in 1862. He moved to Penge at some stage before 1881. He was listed in the 1881 census as an Ironmonger’s Assistant living above the shop with the proprietor, Arthur Barrett, at 37-39 Beckenham Road.
Before the decade was out he was listed as being on the electoral register in Bromley. In the 1891 Kelly’s he was listed at 4 The Parade, Masons Hill and by 1903, he was at the two locations in the ghost sign, as was the case in 1913.
Other than on the side of the shop at 41 Masons Hill there were adverts for the business in several places in 1906 – including the Bromley library bulletin in May 1906.
The son was called Alfred and was born around 1896 in Bromley, he seemed to have stayed in the area – an Alfred M Crouch died in Bromley in 1958. As for the business and J Morton Crouch it hasn’t been possible to trace the family or the business on line beyond 1913 – but presumably the sign post dates that as the ‘son’ was not listed in Kelly’s – he would have been 17 at that stage.
The ghost sign certainly wasn’t there in 1910 when it was photographed for that year’s Bush’s Directory (see below for picture credit).
There are some parallels with another Bromley ghost sign that has featured in the blog – that of Uridge Stores. They both had shops at either end of the shopping centre in Bromley – oddly next door to each other in Widmore Road, Crouch’s shop is now the Terrace Café and Restuarant, and Uridge’s is clear from the ghost sign. On Mason’s Hill – Isaac Uridges shop there was at 25.
Thank you to Sheldon from the excellent Cemetery Club blog spotting the advert in the 1910 Bush’s Directory at Bromley Archives, and to them both for letting me use the picture.
Brilliant research! Fascinating to read some of the history behind a ghost sign. I hope this sign remains so well preserved.
Thank you! It is difficult to know whether the uncovering is temporary or permanent – there is one I in Lewisham I wrote about this time last year which had just been uncovered but is still visible.
They generally survive quite well, although as they were never designed to be permanent they do deteriorate – there is one close to where I live that has faded badly in the 10 years it has been uncovered.
That is a beauty and good to have the research behind it. Adds so much more.
Thanks, there are dozens of ghost signs around here – I like the stories behind them, they are often a great mix of changes in shopping patterns, trades that no longer exist – I did one a ‘Grainer’ a year or so ago – with bits of family history thrown in.
Does the Museum of London know about you and your ghost signs? Really good – we must keep a link with the past.
There are several people who catalogue ghostsigns, notably Sam from the site http://www.ghostsigns.co.uk (@ghostsigns on Twitter), who also does walking tours on them in north London, my interest is both about the signs, but perhaps more so the stories behind them.
What a great find! Thank you for sharing your photo and research on this wonderful ghost sign!
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Great article. I didn’t know other people noticed the ghost signs, shame to lose them.
Thank you! There are still a fair number around – although those that are visible slowly fade over time as they were only meant to be relatively short term. ‘New’ ones occasionally appear from decades behind more modern advertising hoardings though. There is a specific site on them if you are interested – http://www.ghostsigns.co.uk and loads on http://carolineld.blogspot.co.uk/p/ghost-signs.html
one Daphne Crouch lived in the flat above this shop until the late 1980s. She was a friend of my mother who lived at 49 Masons Hill.