|We are now working to save an historic 'Ghost' sign for Darby's Ales
West Bromwich has a proud industrial and manufacturing history, which once led it to be called 'the Chicago of the Midlands'. There is no evidence of many of these famous businesses left in the town, and that is why we want to save this tangible evidence of the brewing industry in West Bromwich.
We have embarked on a new project to save and relocate an historic 'Ghost' sign for 'Darby's Ales' painted on the wall of Parish's Refreshment Rooms in Lombard Street West around 80 years ago to advertise that they served Darby's Ales.
When the Gas Showroom was demolished to be rebuilt at the Black Country Living Museum, many of the buildings in Lombard Street West were also demolished. The Friends of Dartmouth Park were just in time to save the Darby's sign from disappearing. At our request the contractors kindly took the sign down brick by brick and stacked them safely for us to collect and store. We have identified a new location for the sign on the perimeter wall of Dartmouth Park, close to the main entrance. The group have applied for a Heritage Lottery Grant for the restoration and relocating of the sign and in the meantime we are looking for stories from people who have worked for Darby's, either at their brewery or in their pubs. Many of Darby's pubs still exist in West Bromwich but have been re-branded. Darby's started in the brewing industry in 1864 and continued to develop and expand, building Dunkirk Brewery in Greets Green and eventually owning over 100 pubs. They were the most successful brewers in West Bromwich, but due to Death Duties had to sell the business in 1951 to Mitchells & Butlers. However, two of Darby's directors became directors of Mitchells & Butlers so their long history in brewing continued.
Below are images of the sign on the wall in Lombard Street West, the demolition of Lombard Street, a close up of the sign and a rough image of where we want to relocate the restored sign.