Pouf Ghost Sign (Middlesbrough, John Barwick Sr., 1947)

Restored by John Barwick Sr. and Jr., 1995

The restored Pouf sign in the 1990s (courtesy of Simon Mckeown)

In an attempt to preserve Middlesbrough’s old painted advertisements, Cleveland Arts and City Challenge began a scheme to restore them in the mid-90s. One of the beneficiaries of this was the distinctive Pouf Cockroach Powder mural on the corner of Saltwells Road and Breckon Hill Road.

The sign before restoration (courtesy of Simon Mckeown)

In a nice bit of historical continuity, it was the original painter John Barwick – along with his namesake son – who was able to repaint his youthful work.

Barwick Senior originally painted the sign as a teenage apprentice back in 1947. Serendipitously, when they asked him to restore it in 1995, Cleveland Arts were unaware that he’d painted the earlier version.

While the Pouf brand may have been outlived by the roaches, its sign remains as a monument to the many brave insects who fell in the never-ending war between man and beast.

The restored Pouf sign in the 1990s (courtesy of Simon Mckeown)
Evening Gazette – Tuesday March 21st, 1995

Northern Echo cutting sometime in 1995 (Newspaper cuttings courtesy of Simon Mckeown)

3 thoughts on “Pouf Ghost Sign (Middlesbrough, John Barwick Sr., 1947)

  1. Daniel Cochran April 1, 2023 / 9:18 am

    I was just checking edits! Wasn’t an intentional April Fools. Published now.


    • Chris Snowdon April 1, 2023 / 2:17 pm

      Oh, what a shame.

      Would this pic of ads on the side of the Bongo Club be of interest?

      It’s from a family slide of the Corpus Christi Procession in the late 50s or early 60s.

      Feel free to use it as long as you credit the copyright to me.

      Don’t worry if you don’t think it’s suitable.



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