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Lancashire At

Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire






Ghost Signs

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This Emergency Water Supply sign in the centre of Burnley is at one end of Holmsley Street. Burnley FC is at the other end of the street. It is painted on the side of a shop.

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This EWS sign, long forgotten, has recently been partly re-painted by the Rotary Club of Blackburn. The sign, by the gatehouse on Buncer Lane, Blackburn is on the edge of Witton Country Park.


It is interesting that it has been re-painted. Does a sign originally painted in the 1940's not lose its heritage if re-painted 70 years later?

Fortunately, they have only painted the sign on one side of the gatehouse - the other has been left alone. On the one hand, it is nice that this re-paint has gained the sign some much needed recognition - highlighting its forgotten history. On the other, it has partly destroyed the original sign. Does this set a precedent?

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Three more Ghost Signs, these are in the Heywood area.

Above Left and Below Left: This sign is on Peel Street near the junction with Bury St/Bridge St

Above Right and Below Right: Waterfold Lane off Bury New Road on the Bury/Rochdale border at Heap Bridge.

Both are ERP signs - but what numbers they were is no longer easy to read.

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On the corner of Walmersley Road and Mather Road, Bury, stood an air raid siren to the left of this electricity substation (There are photos to come elsewhere of this). But here on the existing building is a Ghost Sign from WW2. Another ERP sign.

There are several EWS (Emergency Water Supply) ghost signs on the Blog Preston website:


We are hoping to find out where exactly they are - can anyone help us?

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Below: Lord Street, Bury - This one clearly says "ERP 166". It just about survived a 1950's extension to the factory. Shame someone "tagged" it.


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In Liverpool, on Eberle Street near the junction with Dale Street is this ghost sign. Below it is a Hydrant sign, possibly pre-dating the war, but re-painted for it. There is some talk that the "Emergency Exit" sign may not be WW2, but it looks suitably old to us.

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A Third ERP sign in Heywood.


This one (LEFT) is on the corner of Baker Street and Manchester Road.

The number 235 can clearly be seen on it. But what do the numbers mean?


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These photos are of Brunswick Mill on Bradford Road, Manchester. We have never seen any WW2 signs like these before.


TOP RIGHT: "Nearest Fire Station Pollard Street East". This is directly below a modern Hydrant sign.

RIGHT: There is a lot of faded writing here - several sentences, but what it says is not clear. Something about Sprinklers

BOTTOM RIGHT: Next to the metal sign a faded "S" - for Sprinkler, we presume.

BELOW: A metal sign has been removed and faded yellow paint around it is a clue to it being something else associated with the WW2 ghost signs.

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LEFT: On the corner of Elbow Street and Stockport Road, Levenshulme. A very faded EWS sign. See a more clear photo of it HERE on the LevyBoy.Com website


BELOW LEFT & BELOW RIGHT: An ERP sign in Ramsbottom. This is on Nuttal Hall Lane near Nuttal Park.

Many thanks to Bren Richard of Ramsbottom Heritage Society for telling us about this one. First one we have seen NOT on a building. It is on one of two stone posts. The full number is unfortunately obscured.


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A rare example of a Emergency Water Supply sign made of metal.


It is on Hand Bridge, Burnley, over the river Calder.

Our thanks to Jonathan Cook, who contacted us and told us about this sign. When he did we had to go and see it and verify for ourselves that it was of WW2 vintage - and we believe it is.


It raises the questions, however, what is an "E.W.S. Hatch", what did it do and how did it work? If you have any idea, please contact us. Our thanks again to Jonathan.

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LEFT: Two photos of an ERP sign - (think it reads ERP 275) on Tottington Road, Bury, on the corner of Rhode Street.


BELOW & BELOW LEFT: A very faded ERP sign on High Street, Walshaw. Opposite the War Memorial at the junction with Walshaw Road.

At the corner of Smithybridge Road and Halifax Road in Rochdale is this very faded ERP sign (ABOVE LEFT & ABOVE RIGHT)

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LEFT: Another faded ERP sign. This one is on Wolstenholme Avenue, Bury at the junction with Wlamersley Road.



RIGHT: Is this Ghost Sign from WW2 in case of a fire? We don't honestly know.

It is on the side of Summerseat Methodist Primary School, Bury.

While it looks authentic enough, it could just be there to show people where to get water for the flowers in the nearby church cemetary.


BELOW LEFT & BELOW RIGHT: David French contacted us to tell us about this sign he found over the River Irwell in Manchester on Stanley Street. We went to photograph it and see if we could read it easier. We believe it says "Fire Tank V47T". Whether it is from WW2 and part of the Fire Service's precautions, we do not know. If anyone knows what it was please contact us.

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BELOW: An ERP sign on Manchester Old Road by the corner of Parkfield Drive. The first we have found on a flag wall, this one is partly obscured by a BT box. Most of its writing has flaked off unfortunately.

A THIRD Page of Ghost Signs are HERE

These pages, all text and photographs, unless stated, are the copyright of The Brothers B. No reproduction is allowed in any form without prior written permission

"Ghost Signs" are well known  across the world. They are most commonly old advertisements painted on a wall (try Google Imaging "Ghost Signs"). Some even still exist from WW2 - but these are a little more mundane. "Emergency Water Supply" and the rather mysterious "Emergency Rendevouz Point" are some of the ones that we have found so far.


This ERP (Above) (Emergency Rendezvous Point) sign painted on the wall of a house on the corner of Victoria Street and Rostron Road in Ramsbottom.


See our ERP page HERE




Over to East Lancashire, and around the Waterfoot area there are two signs - one still there, one sadly gone (See our Lost Ghost Signs Page HERE). Both seem to refer to the same stream (whose name I cannot find out) but runs from Lumb to Waterfoot where it joins the River Irwell.


The one on Gaghills Road where it joins Burnley Road East is still visible. See: Left and Below.


Two ghost signs on "Constellation Mill" or Black Land Mill, Radcliffe.

One says 'Gas Cleansing Centre' (SEE MORE about this on our page about Decontamination Centres HERE). The other says 'Fire Service' and on an old photograph of the mill, there is more writing visible below but what it said can no longer be read unfortunately.

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