Saturday, February 7, 2009

Frome, Somerset

At your service

I mentioned in my previous post the many attractions of the town of Frome, where there is plenty to see at eye level and below. But it's always worth looking up, especially above shop fronts, where buildings sometimes wear their history on their sleeve. This corner building bears the marks of two former businesses. First of all, right at the top, ghostly inscriptions proclaim its time as the town's 'Glass and China Showrooms', where one might buy toilet sets, vases, pormanteaux, and dinner sets. I'm not sure of the date of these signs, but the lettering and the inclusion of such antique-sounding goods as toilet sets, not to mention portmanteaux, to carry them away in, presumably, seems to suggest the Victorian period.

Later on this was a photographic shop. Two signs (the other more ghostly and less specific than the one shown here) advertise photographic services. This one, with its packet of Kodak Verichrome film, must have been put up between 1931 and 1956, when the film was replaced with Verichrome Pan. Although nowadays we think of 'chrome' as signifying a colour (especially colour transparency) film, in 1931 the name 'Verichrome' was meant to suggest the faithful conversion of colours into black and white. It's interesting to see how enthusiastically it was being promoted in this vivid sign in Kodak yellow.

For more images of old signs, follow the Ghost Signs link in the right-hand column.


Peter Ashley said...

Ghost signs are quite remarkable. Not just for their lingering on into our own age, but also for the initial thoughts of permanence, like a vitreous enamel advertising sign. And I bet the signwriter never dreamt that his handiwork would still be giving pleasure in the next century.

Anonymous said...

This might be an odd question, but is it pronounced like "froam" or "froom"?

Philip Wilkinson said...

"Froom" I think.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. :)