Welcome to the Lewis & Skinner archive
This site is an online archive of documents connected with the Melbourne signwriting company Lewis & Skinner, which ran from the early 1900s through to the 1960s.
The abandoned documents were discovered at a demolition site in Footscray in February 2012 by Dr Stefan Schutt from Victoria University. The documents tell the story of hundreds of signwriting jobs across Melbourne and Victoria, from Mobil service stations to milk bars and railway hoardings. Most are from the 1950s though there are earlier ones too. More information on the discovery can be found on Stefan's Finding the Radio Book blog, in this story in the Maribyrnong Leader or this one in the Footscray Star. There's also a good summary here in Victoria University's Connections magazine.
The find also led to a document exhibition and live signwriting project in Yarraville in October 2013, which featured on the Channel Ten news and on ABC Radio. A related seminar on ghost signs (the remains of painted advertising signs) also saw Stefan interviewed on ABC radio and in The Age newspaper.
All documents in the Lewis & Skinner archive are organised by suburb and area, geolocation, and by tags for particular companies, years or job types (see the Browse Collections link). The Browse Exhibits section is slowly being populated with special exhibits on particular themes. The comments section on each job page lets you upload stories and photos about particular locations by web-enabled phone or computer. We encourage any involvement in this by anyone from those locations, especially if they know something about the history of the location.
This site has been created by Stefan and Oztron Media using the open source archival software Omeka. Site development has been funded by the Telematics Trust, and site research by the State Library of Victoria's Berry Family Fellowship.
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