THEY are faded fragments of days gone by which offer a glimpse into city life of the past.

Now a project working to preserve the “ghost signs” remaining on buildings in Glasgow is launching a map of key sites in the South Side.

Since 2018, Glasgow City Heritage Trust has been researching and documenting the remains of the signs, which has included putting together an online archive, a conference and walking trails.

As part of this month’s Doors Open Days Scotland festival, the Ghost Signs of Glasgow project will be offering a walking tour of the city centre on September 19, as well as launching a new downloadable map of the South Side.

Project co-ordinator Jan Graham said: “I think the fascination with ghost signs is to do with the social history.

“Often you post about a ghost sign and people chip in their own memories of it – saying their father worked there, they worked there or they used to go to that shop when they were a kid.

“So it holds a lot of memories for people – I think that is part of the fun of it, when you find something that is quite precious to someone else.”

One of the most popular signs on the city centre trail is above Argyll Arcade, which was built in 1827. It was the first indoor shopping mall in Scotland and is one of the oldest in Europe.

Designer John Baird was influenced by the Parisian style and it was built in an “L” shape so it could go through tenement buildings, linking Buchanan Street and Argyll Street.

Graham said: “There were some challenges with the South Side signs – there were a couple of what we called mystery signs.

“It took quite a bit of digging to unearth information about those as you don’t have the whole sign, which means you can go through archives for the business information. You have to really search post office records and so on to try and figure out what had been there.

“So there were a couple on the South Side which were a good challenge to uncover what they were.

“One was a grocer and we think the other one might have been a laundry as that was the last business that had been in that building.”

So far the project has evidence of around 100 ghost signs, which are being researched and documented.

Most are from the 19th century and one of the oldest can be found above the entrance to an ordinary tenement building in the South Side.

The site in Paisley Road West was once the South Western Academy for girls and infants, which was set up in 1855.

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Other signs featuring on the new South Side trail include the “Insist on the Citizen” slogan above a vegan cafe in Victoria Road.

The Glasgow Citizen was a daily newspaper founded in 1842 and was one of the first three evening newspapers to be printed, published and sold in the city.

In Pollokshaws Road, the faded remnants of a sign for St Andrew’s Works can still be seen on a red-brick building.

The Printing Works forms part of the St Andrew’s Works complex, dating from 1899, which was designed by architect Andrew Myles.

It was a coal-fired generating station until 1922.

In 1937 the facility was divided into two parts – the northern section was sold to Glasgow Corporation, now Glasgow City Council, and part converted in 1937 to a printing works.

The southern part was sold to Scottish Power Transmission –now Scottish Power – and is still in use as a substation.

AN exhibition focusing on 20 of the signs at Rogart Street Campus in Glasgow’s East End is running until September 19, which will then tour in other locations in the city.

Glasgow is not the only city where ghost signs are being catalogued, with an online conference last year bringing together speakers from London, Dublin and Birmingham to discuss issues such as preservation.

Graham added: “It is a relatively new aspect of built heritage that people are just becoming aware of.

“They are very vulnerable to development, so someone will take over a shop and just paint over a sign. Sometimes you even lose the building.

“Having the archive is important so it is creating a lasting memory of parts of our built heritage that may be lost – possibly forever.”