An urban stroll can become a journey into the past for those alert to the faded beauty of hand-painted adverts on old buildings
During a recent lockdown refurbishment of my local pub in Glasgow, it wasn’t the aesthetic changes to the Titwood Bar’s exterior that piqued people’s curiosity. Most eyes were drawn instead to the detail of a faded sign that began to appear on the wall above, eventually displaying “The Elbow Room” in handsome, intricate lettering.
Shared stories on social media from enthusiastic locals followed, revealing that this was one of Glasgow’s most sophisticated drinking dens in the 1950s: a cocktail lounge where dapper barmen in white suits and black bow ties served Celtic and Rangers players. Despite living only a 10-minute walk from this pub in Strathbungo, in the south of the city, and spending many hours socialising in it, I had no knowledge of its vibrant past. It took a ghost sign, and those who remembered it before it was a ghost, to bring it to life.