Restoring A Slice Of Liverpool’s Heritage, One Sign At A Time

Harry Mytton is transforming signage around Liverpool and just might gold leaf the Liver Birds; if he gets his hands on them
Evie Whitaker
April 17, 2024

If you’re familiar with the vibrant streets of Liverpool, you’re probably familiar with Harry Mytton’s work. Putting his hand to the signage of 12 businesses on Lark Lane alone, this traditional and gold leaf signage specialist is restoring Scouser’s history one shopfront at a time.

Lucky enough to feel that his craft is booming, Harry fell into signwriting during a house renovation and landed on a YouTube video of James Cooper, AKA Dapper Signs, which resonated. Now people are so familiar with his work that they can identify his projects just by looking at his signature “E” - or so he’s been told.

Adding a richness and curb appeal to hot spots in the city, Harry’s love for what he does makes it effortless, and despite widespread admiration he’s led to believe “they’re just signs aren’t they, done how they should be”. But we’re saying they’re much more…

A recent transformation of R Jackson & Sons art supplies - a staple on Slater Street for over 100 years - saw Harry at the pinnacle of his career after reviving the iconic, but decaying signage.

Liverpool Slater Street arts supplies shopfront
R Jackson & Sons Arts & Crafts Supplies

“I never thought I would get the opportunity to do that job. I would never have even thought about asking them if I could do it - I loved the old sign, it was a fading beauty and really told a story. To have the chance to work with Phil Jackson and decide how best to re-energise it was a privilege. I don’t see how a job can get better than that one. After I finished it, I thought ‘what now?’. I’m extremely proud of that job.”

Breathing some fresh air into cities when they arguably need it most is clearly drawing appreciation from passers by that not only get to see traditional transformations, but fun takes for businesses, whether that be shopfront, bus, barge, or huge brick buildings like The Flint.

So what is it about signwriting that often connects passers-by with their surroundings in a ‘don’t look up’ era? “I think though there is an element of care and understanding with a hand painted sign that perhaps isn't necessarily there with something made solely on a computer. There’s more to consider than just throwing up some plastic and covering everything up, it’s a process. You might even need to engage a joiner and a decorator on a project before I come in.

“On a personal level - I approach jobs with the ultimate level of respect and care and I love the look of a hand painted sign, I think you want to see the hand of the writer in the work.” Harry has a vision for the streets of Liverpool that’s about more than just accenting businesses, but improving the overall livelihood of urban areas that over time, can get a bad rap.

“What I would really love to see is the removal of all the roller shutters on shop fronts. If money were no object it would be amazing to see a scheme whereby businesses got a grant to have their external roller shutters removed and replaced with shutters on the inside of the window. I realise there are lots of logistics to contend with here but it would improve the aesthetic of the high street no end.

“I think a leading example of what can be done with a high street is what the heritage team have done in Prescot over the recent years - restoring shop fronts, the street itself, removing roller shutters, and so on.”

It’s great to see a northern gem lead the way with transforming the aesthetic of the high street and Liverpool is a shining example of how this effort can enhance the vitality of a community.

‘Respecting the past, writing the future’ are words Harry builds his livelihood on and are most certainly ones that could reverberate over our cities.