York Theatre Sign

At our September meeting we discussed the wonderful “Little Theatre” sign that has emerged on the York Theatre’s south wall, and we agreed to write to the architects and developers in an attempt to preserve this important artifact of our cultural and community past.

We have now heard back from the architects and Don Luxton their heritage consultant.  Their letters said in part:

The appropriate due diligence was performed, with comprehensive input from envelope consultant, heritage consultant, structural consultant, and paint/coatings authority …  The consultations concluded that exposing the ghost signs and protecting them with an encapsulating coating is not feasible due to the too irregular and rough surface of the clay tile substrate and proper adhesion would not be achieved ,,,

[A] glass box option would also require the application of a UV resistant coating on the ghost signs, which may again lead to deterioration of the historic paint …

It was concluded that the signage could not be effectively available for visual display, but will continue to exist and will be protected and preserved accordingly … The design intent is to protect the ghost signs with an interlayer that separates the signs from the new stucco layer that will be appllied on top.  This conservation strategy will preserve the ghost signs behind the new facade render for future research and treatments when enhanced conservation technologies are available …

As an homage to the recommended concealed ‘ghost’ signage, the historic lettering was documented and is being replicated, to be incorporated as ‘ghost lettering’ in the renovation on the Commercial Drive facade roof screen.”

Not a bad result and we thank the architects and their principals for taking these steps to preserve the signs for the future.

6 thoughts on “York Theatre Sign

  1. Can I check, does this mean that it will be covered (i.e. not visible) but with an option in the future to remove the covering if technology becomes available to preserve it in its faded state? Also, what is “the Commercial Drive facade roof screen” where they are planning to reproduce the sign as it appears now? (I’m interested as I want to add this to my list of blog posts about protection efforts around the world: http://www.ghostsigns.co.uk/tag/protection)


    1. Hi Sam: Yes, this means it will be preserved and covered until a time in the future. The Commercial Drive facade is the front wall of the new theatre. Hope that helps, Jak


      1. Thanks Jak, this is a really unique approach to preservation. If you have time then please let me know about the final output, I’d like to feature on the Ghostsigns blog. You can reply to this comment (I’m subscribed), email me (sam@ghostsigns.co.uk) or use any of the other contact methods on here: http://www.ghostsigns.co.uk/contact


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