1. “For your throat’s sake, smoke,” – cigarette advert on Brixton Road.
These photos were taken by James Lewis, a planetary geology PhD student at Imperial College, London.
He used to live in Brixton, where every day he would pass this sign. He tells BuzzFeed: “It was an interesting and slightly disturbing glimpse into the advertising and attitudes of the past. It’s faded quite heavily and I wondered how many other old signs told an interesting story but were rapidly disappearing.
“I started searching for other signs in mid 2013, I located them by walking around areas packed with the old brick buildings on which painted signs tend to have been preserved.”
The origin and history of many of the signs is obscure, with the full name of the shop of the brand having washed away after decades of rain, but for Lewis this is part of attraction:
“In a way that’s why I find them interesting, It’s a piece of history that will never be as glamorous or analysed to the level of the doings of monarchs, politicians or generals but they say a lot about the attitudes, designs and language of everyday people in the past. They also seem more tangible than a dusty relic in a museum.”