Double-sided shell / bp alloy forecourt sign



United Kingdom

Hoarde Vintage Member since 2016
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Shell-Mex & BP Ltd was a British joint marketing venture between petroleum companies Royal Dutch Shell and British Petroleum (BP). It was formed in 1932 when both companies decided to merge their UK marketing operations - a move triggered in part due to the difficult economic conditions of the time. By 1966 the Shell and the BP Service Station networks had been managed by separate sales organisations within Shell-Mex & B.P and by 1976 the two parent organisations de-merged their UK marketing operations. This double-sided Shell / BP alloy sign is a real rarity with the two individual, lithographically printed tin / alloy signs still in their original framework. From the above we know the piece dates between 1932-'66 and I would suggest it's probably from the 1950s / early '60s.

Shell + BP signage pairings can be found in enamel and then later examples like the above in alloy - the pairings are almost always 'handed' with the corners on one side of the sign rounded and the other side square. This is the first time I've encountered those signs in their original framework and seeing them in their original setting makes sense of the sign's format and gives the owner the opportunity to display correctly. Both signs remain in excellent condition, especially considering the increased vulnerability of these alloy signs in comparison to their enamel predecessors. The Shell side does have a small indentation to the lower right, only noticable when looking at from the side or with a raking light... Each side is fully legible with vibrant colours and both sides have developed a lovely, subtle surface patination (see close up photos). There are some small areas of wear / surface scratching but all in line with a well cared for piece of original signage and doesn't detract from the impact of the piece. The frame work remains in decent condition, the face that mounts to the wall does have a little denting at the top and the tab that would help to space it out from the wall has folded in (though I'm sure if wanted it could be folded back out or washers used). There are a couple of the studs missing but 6 / 8 remain and this would be more than sufficient to hang the piece with.

The sign measures 93cm high x 88.5cm wide and the depth tapers from 10cm at the wall side to 5cm at the other side - a large, statement piece.


  • H: 93cm (36.61in)
  • W: 88.5cm (34.84in)
  • D: 10cm (3.94in)



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LJW @ Atlam
111 Portobello Road
W11 2QB
United Kingdom


I’m Louis Walpole. Over a decade of working for and alongside some of the best antique dealers in the country at London’s renowned Portobello Road have helped me to form a detailed understanding of, and appreciation for, a diverse array of antiques. In 2016, after ‘dabbling’ in the trade since childhood I decided to follow my heart and (ignoring a myriad of people advising against it) leave my salaried job to trade full time. Since then I have travelled around England and Western Europe collecting the pieces that particularly interest me. These pieces loosely follow the themes of; automotive, advertising, scientific and industrial. I have a select number of items on display in Atlam on Portobello Road. The shop is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and on Saturdays from 8am to 5pm.

If you would like to view any of my pieces in London, please get in touch to confirm that they’re at the shop or to arrange for me to take them there for you. It may also be possible for me to bring items to your home/bar/garage/pub etc so that they can be fully appreciated in-situ, again please just get in touch and we’ll see what can be organised."

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