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London Street Signs

A visual history of London's street nameplates

Alistair Hall



ISBN: 9781849946216

Price: £ 14.99

Publication date: 3 September 2020

Category: Design

A showcase of London’s street nameplates – from the curious to the ornate.

All around London, you can find a remarkable public archive of lettering in the city’s street nameplates. A unique collection of styles and forms that stretches back to the 17th century, these little labels hide in plain sight – we use their information daily, but too often fail to really notice them. And they aren’t just visual anchors, telling us where we are; but temporal anchors too, telling us where we’ve come from.

This expertly curated collection documents the most significant, beautiful and curious street signs, from enamel plates to incised lettering, the simplest cast iron signs to gloriously ornamental architectural plaques.

It’s a visual and typographical journey through the history of a great metropolis. Along the way, the fascinating stories behind these unassuming treasures are uncovered, revealing where they came from before being affixed to brick or stone for decades to come. We’re introduced to the iconic nameplates of the City of Westminster, the stunning tiled signs of Hampstead and the revival nameplates of Lambeth, as well as the ghost signs of the no-longer existent NE postal district.

London Street Signs is a striking visual record of our collective history that will appeal to design and history enthusiasts alike.


Alistair Hall is co-founder and art director of children’s literacy charity Ministry of Stories and its fantastical shop, Hoxton Street Monster Supplies. In addition to running design studio We Made This, with projects including the Penguin Great Ideas series and clients such as London Cycling Campaign and the Crafts Council, Alistair also manages to find time to lecture in Graphic Design at The Cass and Typography at Central Saint Martins.



'Mr Hall writes in an informative way about an unexpectedly fascinating topic'

Times Literary Supplement

'[Hall’s] images, detailed captions and entertaining text made me look at street signs with a renewed aesthetic appreciation and curiosity.'

Catherine Croft
C20 Magazine

'Riddled with fascinating stories, themes, and learnings that can be taken from them. … There is no doubt that London Street Signs is, and will remain, the definitive work on this very niche topic.'

Better Letters

 'An absolute must for type fans – one of THE design books of the year'

Daniel Benneworth

'Recommended for enthusiasts of London history and graphic design.'

London Historians