To Orwell Today,

Dear Jackie,

I was in touch with Peter Powell the year before his death when I talked with him about the hand painted Hovis sign in Camden Passage. If you are interested in my work on hand painted signs, my website is GHOST SIGNS.

Hovis Sign, Islington: I discovered this sign at night on 3rd April 2007 and got round to photographing it days later... I asked the man in the shop opposite (Origin) if I could go up to his first floor to take a photo square on, which he agreed to. I then asked him if he knew anything about the sign and he mentioned a local walk guide that stops outside his shop and talks about the sign and the building it's on. Doing a Google search I found the man, Peter Powell of Angel Walks and Islington Archaeology & History Society. A phone conversation later I had learned that the baker was resident in the building until the 1930s or 1940s and that, as part of his role as an Islington councillor in the 1980s, Peter Powell had managed to get a preservation order on the sign itself. I'm going to try to locate details of this at the local archives. This sign is in the brand sponsored style where the wall space of the retailer was exchanged in return for an advertisement, paid for by Hovis in this instance, that featured the big brand prominently. There are many examples of this and it appears to have been commonplace in the world of painted wall advertising.

I have struck up my research again and noticed on your ORWELL ANGEL WALKS POWELL page that you mention an audio recording done by Peter for the BBC.

I wonder if that recording makes any mention of the Hovis sign, or whether you have any other information that Peter may have left in notes or other materials?

Sam Roberts

Greetings Sam,

I met Peter Powell, Orwell's next door neighbour at 27B CANONBURY SQUARE, during my Homage to Orwell in 2003. That Islington apartment (or 'flat' as you say in England) was Orwell's main model for Winston Smith's flat in VICTORY MANSIONS in "1984".

Later we rendezvoused with Peter and his friend John Dunne at ORWELL'S LOCAL PUB and Peter regaled us with stories about Orwell friends, relatives and enthusiasts he'd met over the years conducting his ANGEL WALKS guided-tours around Islington to the haunts of legendary literary figures like Orwell, Dickens etc.

After leaving England I sent Peter a copy of the HOMAGE TO ORWELL booklet I created and later we chatted on the phone one time:

Homage Orwell Bk

I've never heard the audio recording Peter made for BBC Radio but his webmaster linked to it on his ANGEL WALKS website which is no longer in existence since Peter's death in 2008.

Speaking of hand-painted historical signs I received an email from a reader describing hand-painted signs in Hastings with a connection to Orwell. See ORWELL COMMON FRIEND TRESSELL

All the best with your project,
Jackie Jura

Patrik is doing a story on Peter Powell who conducted "angel walks" in Islington where Orwell lived

ANGEL ORWELL NEIGHBOUR POWELL (Nigel sends condolences after learning of the passing of Orwell's neighbour Peter Powell

Anelisa asks how to contact Henry Dakin for film on the Corryvreckan Whirlpool

ORWELL ANGEL WALKS POWELL (...Beate sends sad news of the passing away of Peter Powell only a couple weeks after he did a report for BBC Radio 4 - the Today programme, which was very successful, and they wanted him to do more...)

Nigel is researching a project on Orwell for British television and asks for help finding a celebrity fan to play the part


Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~