Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Ghost signs, abandonment and semi-abandonment in Wiltshire and Somerset

Last weekend I embarked on an epic, well epic for me anyway, bike ride from Newbury to Frome, a total of 57.5 miles. I had no idea where I was heading other than the fact that I decided to head west, and my wife kindly agreed to pick me up from wherever I ended up. The purpose of the ride was to reach the 250km challenge I'd set myself for May, and I'd not planned to look for anything to blog about here, so was pleasantly surprised to find a few ghost signs and other interesting places along the way.

This was a rather sad looking, former petrol station. As with many rural petrol stations and garages, they have closed down now, presumably unable to compete with the out of town supermarkets.

Abandoned petrol station, Milton Lilbourne, Wiltshire
Abandoned petrol station, Milton Lilbourne, Wiltshire

I caught this ghost sign out of the corner of my eye as I cycled past, so looped back on myself to get a shot of J.R.FELLOWS. Looking at the white paint behind the name, I do wonder whether there was ever more to this sign than can be seen today.

Ghost sign for J.R.Fellows, Pewsey, Wiltshire
Ghost sign for J.R.Fellows, Pewsey, Wiltshire

This next ghost sign is actually a collection of ghost signs. The clearest word, in white, would appear to be DRAPER, underneath which in black is

GODFREY'S
CASH STORE
REFRESHMENTS

but if that wasn't confusing enough, the Market Lavington Museum blog has old pictures with even more words which are not visible at all today but say 

WALTON
BAKERY &
SUPPLY STORES
M-LAVINGTON

Multiple ghost signs in Easterton, Wiltshire
Multiple ghost signs in Easterton, Wiltshire

This is another multiple ghost sign, this time in Lavington, or possibly West Lavington. Not very easy to read at all, but I can see the words HOUSE, VALUE and BOOKS.

Ghost sign in West Lavington, Wiltshire
Ghost sign in West Lavington, Wiltshire

My last picture is from Somerset and is of Frome railway station. Despite looking abandoned, and having just one platform remaining operational, and just one actual track, it is still in use and sits on a loop just off the main GWR line. Although there was not a single person on the station when I arrived early on a Saturday evening, the annual passenger numbers is close on 150,000, and in fact when I get the 07:08 from Newbury to London Paddington, it's a train which actually starts its journey at Frome.

Frome railway station, Somerset
Frome railway station, Somerset


    

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