Check out the county’s ‘ghost signs’

the corner house chesterfield

Once they advertised a business, product or service – they may even have celebrated a town’s civic aspirations – but the original purpose of many of Derbyshire’s signs has long since vanished. Richard McAllister looks at some of the county’s fascinating ‘ghost signs’.  

FOR THOSE who know where to look, ‘ghost’ signs offer a fascinating insight into the past. They are fragments from a different age, frozen in time in a world that constantly changes.

Often, though, a generation passes and it becomes difficult to work out their meaning.  One of these can be seen on Bakewell’s Castle Inn. A mysterious metal wheel, inlaid with three wings, has been perched on the chimney for an age.  What looks at first glance to be the symbol of a clandestine society in fact belonged to the Cyclists Touring Club.  From 1887 until the 1920s the plaques were issued to hostelries if they were judged to have suitable services and accommodation for club members…