In February 2019, two large advertising billboards were removed from under the Loopline railway bridge on Store Street. They revealed an almost intact timber ghost sign which read Brothers Merchants.
The 1932 Thoms Directory lists McGowan Brothers iron, metal and machinery merchants at 14-18 Store Street. I also found some newspaper ads related to McGowan Brothers like this one from The Cork Examiner 14 Feb 1918.
Given the sign’s historic significance, and the fact that it was more aesthetically pleasing than the modern billboards which had been covering it, I got in touch with Dublin City Council and CIE (whose property the bridge is) to make a case for preserving the sign in situ.
Despite my efforts though, the sign couldn’t be preserved in its original location. It was removed on Saturday 16 March.
Thankfully though, the latts (50+ of them) were saved from the skip. It took two of us over three hours to remove all the nails from the boards and stack them on a roof rack to take them to the place where I am storing them temporarily until I can move them to a more secure location.
I think Dublin badly needs to have a conversation about what to do when historic signs like this are exposed. A sign like this one had the potential to bring a tangible sense of history to Store Street, and was a link back to a time when this area was a thriving part of Dublin Port. I think it’s a real shame that the opportunity to retain it wasn’t seized.