Found in Frome: Moore & Sons' Farm and Feed Ephemera

For over 100 years, a humble West Country animal feed shop has grown a vast collection of ephemera.

Man at a shop counter surrounded by signs.
Ernie Clothier poses under a hand-painted wooden sign behind the counter at Moore & Sons in Frome.

Following the feature on Grierson Gower's antique and vintage signs, another remarkable collection from England's West Country was brought to my attention by Mark Errington. Here he shares his discovery of the collection, alongside some of his favourite pieces of ephemera from it.

Moore & Sons' Farm and Feed Ephemera

By Mark Errington and Luke Newman

The Somerset town of Frome has many ghost signs, but it’s not often you see a shop full of them.

The posters, packaging, and signage of pet and agricultural suppliers have lined the walls of Moore & Sons since 1922—a century-old seed chart sits alongside a calendar from the 1960s, while faded mole traps, china eggs, and feed advertisements adorn the windows, whose panes are dotted with the remnants of stickers from decades past.

Lettered signs in front of animal feed boxes.
1940s enamel signs from Spillers (Winalot brand) and Spratt's, custom made to fit the display unit behind the counter.

The walls, lined with reclaimed tram boards dating back to 1896, remain unpainted. A set of scales from 1946 is still in daily use, along with an ancient till—there are, of course, no card payments. To step inside is to enter a time warp, leaving the twenty-first century at the door.

A Century in Business

The shop was originally Moore and Toop, but the facade was painted over with ‘Moore & Sons’ after the original partners fell out in 1932. The paint has since peeled off, revealing the original name underneath and highlighting the shop’s storied history.

Ernie Clothier poses with his hand-painted delivery truck. This retains the Moore & Sons name, while detailing Ernie and his wife Mary as the new proprietors.

The business, and the name, were taken over by Ernie Clothier in 1969, and he ran it with his wife Mary until her death in 2016.

Photo of a married couple next to an advertising poster.
Ernie Clothier and his late wife Mary in pride of place next to a 1940s Gammexane louse powder poster.

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