Skip to content

NGS sign writing Barbour new store Leadenhall Market – blokes with brushes..

April 16, 2013

This Post is all about Leadenhall Market’s new Barbour store sign gild by Nick Garrett Signwriting – NGS.

NGS case: Barbour new store Leadenhall Market – gilding in the absolute centre of London. Two local blokes with brushes..

History: The Traditional London Market

The market dates back to the 14th century. Originally a meat, game and poultry market, it stands on what was the centre of Roman London.  A number of commercial retailers are also located in the market, including clothes shops and a pen shop , the newest being the Barbour shop, the subject of this article.


The ornate roof structure, painted green, maroon and cream, and cobbled floors of the current structure, designed in 1881 by Sir Horace Jones.

An early 20th century view of the market and actual site of our recent project beneath the colonnade, to right hand side

From 1990 to 1991 the market received a dramatic redecoration, enhancing its architectural character and detail. The redecoration scheme received a special mention in the Civic Trust Awards 1994. The market is a Grade II* Listed Building, being listed in 1972.


Leadenhall Market formed part of the marathon course of the 2012 Olympic Games.

NGS and the Barbour project – Unit 31 L Mkt – Pieces out of the Jigsaw

Jigsaw is about to be painted out forever…

Love Hate london miami Ink

David Wong the director of the market was responsible for putting Andrew Gill of Active Interiors in touch with me regarding the re-paint and new gild of the 6 main fascia panels in this wonderful heritage landmark.

It’s one thing climbing up a ladder in Notting Hill but another planet working on the very architecture that depicts so much in the eyes of the world and her visitors, of the essence of traditional London. This project started and continued in a delightfully fun and meaningful way for me as it brought together the very best of what it means to be a truly professional artist… and passing that tradition on. A London signwriter is a London signwriter.

The deadline was fairly tight and after identifying the font style and forming up the layout in perfect space we,the veritable Jack Hollands and myself, arrived on site to commence work brushes in hand.

Above: NGS’s Jack Hollands making headway with his first application of gold leaf on oil size.

First task was to clean the fascia and find a good tea maker. That done as we were surrounded but such establishments we started the rub down with wet dry, taking off the existing gilded lettering which read JIGSAW.

My wife will be heartbroken…

The first thing we argued about however was how the existing lettering was made in the first place… after a couple of minutes I knew previous lettering had been vinyl stencilled and gilded and so we had no remorse in taking down this, as we saw it, the vinyl gilding was a complete waste of opportunity to beautify this Grade II buildings.

How sad that the stencil had invaded such an opportunity at brilliance and craft… we sanded with impunity!

My intention was to make a series of stunning hand gilded sign panels for the client and work had begun.

  • Erect tower
  • Undercoat existing lettering.
  • First coat and cut in to gilded numerals and coach-lining.
  • Second coat same
  • Gold Leaf Lettering
  • Shade

Towering Erection problems sorted! and the perfect distraction… Brogue hunting

It had been a while as they say and getting it up was hilarious… the tower that is!  HSS kept us waiting until 2pm on day 1 but once on site we didn’t waste any time in making complete fools of ourselves with lots of tower sections and poles whirling about and not the faintest what with them to do.

There was a lot going on around the place and Jack was seriously on form finding a local Brogue shoe maker which had us gawking through the window at first tea break.

The Lettering

The font we grabbed from a previous photoshoot and formed the title firstly in Photoshop.  The typeface was redrawn to create certain anomalies and poetics such as slightly irregular serifs, shading spans and refinements to the ‘R’ character form.


I montaged the word Barbour from the letters gathered by Jack’s iPhone and overlaid with Clarendon Bold. This was tweaked to fit the existing letter span.

Finally the characters wer redrawn in PS3 aligning the serifs nad characteristics to the original Leadenhall typeface.

The gold to be used was Handover’s, specifically pressed to the requirements of the day.

On start-up the very low working temperature made the 3 Hour Lefranc gold size slow going and difficult to get to open up and flow.

The first batch of gold leaf was rejected and returned for a freshly pressed batch of 23ct 6.75 ton pressure.

Once this problem was corrected with the aid of chocolate and course humour, the gilding went smoothly.

Shading;  The black Oneshot enamel shade was zipped on with a shorter haired writer size 5.


Deserving of only the real thing


I was amazed at how many overseas visitors flowed through the market every day and it certainly brought home to me the importance of the City Corporation realising that hand painted lettering is really the only way to go for such a special icon:

The amount of tour groups visiting Leadenhall deserve the real thing. Not the vinyl masking that was used before.  Jack Hollands

TM and facts

Work duration for 6 fascias 5.5 days – 2 artists.

Access double staged tower.

Tapes: Frog low tac and Leylands yellow sharp cut.

Enamels: Oneshot.

Orange Gold size: Lefranc from Cornellisons’s

Tea: English Breakfast

Lunch: POD

Beer:  Young’s Bitter

Leaving site finished up left us both feeling hollows and sad… fulfilled yet yearning for the next big project challenge.

A wonderful week in a wonderful setting – Old London town.

One Comment leave one →

Like this post? What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: