Look for ghost signs this Halloween

Look for ghost signs this Halloween

SHUTTERED: It’s been a long time since the Casa de lod Fideos sold pasta Photo credit: Linda Hall

FEW remember that Halloween is shorthand for All Hallows Eve, the day before All Saints on November 1.

But not to worry, it’s another chance for young and old to indulge in simulated terror and ghouls from the afterlife.

Nevertheless there is another kind of afterlife haunting the streets and over this coming Halloween weekend, Historic England is asking the public to assist in recording the “ghost signs” still visible on buildings throughout the country.

The association sponsored by Britain’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport hopes to compile an online map of the advertising signs, some of which remain from the late 19th century and others that were still being put up during the 20th.

That’s as far as England is concerned but ghost signs are here in Spain too, although to date no official or unofficial body has shown interest in tracking them down.

Obviously there are slim pickings along the tourist Costas, but they are few and far between even in the old quarters of inland towns cities like Xativa (Valencia) for instance, where so much has been obliterated by makeovers and gentrification.

The city – bisected by part of the Via Augusta,  home to Europe’s first paper factory and  the birthplace of two Borgia popes – has the second-largest Casco Antiguo in the Valencian Community.  At its heart is a network of streets leading off the Plaza del Mercado which have been commercially active since the 13th century.

To an extent they are still active, but many of the former shops that line the narrow, mediaeval streets are either empty and shuttered or have been turned into bars.

But look hard and it’s still possible to find a ghost sign here and there.  Like the painted façade of La Casa de los Fideos, which once sold all shapes and sizes of pasta, as well as garbanzos (chickpeas) and legumbres (pulses).

A closer look reveals that the proprietor was one Alfonso Ordoñez, although whatever was written above his name is now illegible.

A sign of the times when most of us choose supermarkets, not corner shops to buy pasta. But a ghost sign, too, in a street where people shopped for nine hundred years.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.