A hand-painted Battersea relic has been crowned London’s number one ‘ghost sign.’

The faded advertisement for Peterkin Custard, on St John’s Hill, claimed the title after a six-round tournament on social media.

Leftover from the 1920s, the wall painting features a Dutch boy in yellow trousers promoting a former baking brand.

The sign is one of hundreds of artefacts preserved on buildings across the country, which are sometimes kept for nostalgic reasons, or purely by accident.

Ghost sign, Upper Tooting Road (credit: Roy Reed)

Ghost sign, Upper Tooting Road (credit: Roy Reed)

The Twitter tournament was hosted by Sam Roberts, co-author of the book Ghost Signs: A London Story, which will be published later this year.

“It’s a worthy winner and I bet the signwriter that painted it in 1920s would be proud to know it went on to great things,” said Mr Roberts.

“It advertised a range of products made at the Battersea Mills, and the company was once run by Joseph Arthur Rank, later of Rank Films fame. The sign is included on Wandsworth Council's local heritage list, and so this charming Dutch boy in baggy trousers and clogs should keep on walking for years to come.”

A total of 64 entrants were shortlisted for the competition from 250 fading painted wall signs, the stories of which will be revealed in the book.

Ghost Signs: A London Story (credit: Sam Roberts)

Ghost Signs: A London Story (credit: Sam Roberts)

Out of the 5,000 votes cast, second place went to Bloom’s Pianos on Kingsland Road, Shoreditch and third place to Meggezones on Noyna Road, Tooting.

The Mayor of Wandsworth, Cllr Richard Field, said:

“These signs from yesteryear may be fading a little but they certainly add a colourful touch to many neighbourhoods.

“This book features some of the best surviving examples and gives an interesting insight into the shopping habits of our parents, grandparents and beyond. Hopefully it will encourage people to keep a lookout for these historical gems.”

The Peterkin Custard sign will appear in Ghost Signs: A London Story, by Sam Roberts and Roy Reed.

The 320-page book was funded by a Kickstarter and published by Isola Press and will be available to order before Christmas 2021.

You can help support its production here.