What the Dickens! The Letterheads in Rochester

The Letterheads gather in Kent, to paint signs, pinstripe and get drunk with host Mick Pollard.

What the Dickens! The Letterheads in Rochester

This weekend I traveled to Rochester, Kent, for my second Letterheads meet, ‘What the Dickens‘ (in honour of the Charles Dickens’ Rochester connections). The event was hosted by Rochester signwriter Mick Pollard and his daughter Kate Belmonte, supported by a team of friends and family. Hats off to Kate for managing the organisation of everything down to the finest details. This involved kicking off with a screening of Sign Painters, alongside Horn Please, and ended with about 50 pizzas in front of Rochester Castle. In between there was plenty of paint, beer and time for fundraising for nominated charity, Arthritis Research UK.

The purpose of the event was to share skills, learn from the masters, watch others working and, of course, to have fun and meet new people. It was a truly international affair with countries represented including Argentina, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Finland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain. This meant that a key objective for Mick and Kate was to show off some British culture which took the shape of a pub crawl, live music from Hobo Jones & the Junkyard Dogs, Morris Dancing and a reception with a Pearly King, Queen and Princess. Who knows what they’ll have taken away from all that!

Anyway, here are some of my photos of the weekend which started with a walk down Rochester High Street to find the venue, spotting hand-painted work, new and old, along the way.

Find more Letterheads event reviews here at bl.ag online, and subscribe to receive news of future meets.
Partial fascia reveal two doors down from the Corn Exchange, just off Rochester High Street.
Partial fascia reveal two doors down from the Corn Exchange, just off Rochester High Street.
Mick Pollard’s signature, spotted all over Rochester.
Mick Pollard’s signature, spotted all over Rochester.
Ghostsign for Pickfords Removals in an alleyway visible from Rochester High Street.
Ghostsign for Pickfords Removals in an alleyway visible from Rochester High Street.
Restoration House panel just off Rochester High Street.
Restoration House panel just off Rochester High Street.
There was bound to be a spillage or two, just enjoy it!
There was bound to be a spillage or two, just enjoy it!
Examples of Fileteado Porteño work from Gustavo Ferrari.
Examples of Fileteado Porteño work from Gustavo Ferrari.
Mick Pollard and the mayor of Rochester enjoying the Fileteado Porteño work.
Mick Pollard and the mayor of Rochester enjoying the Fileteado Porteño work.
‘Bar’ in the Fileteado Porteño style of Argentina by Gustavo Ferrari.
‘Bar’ in the Fileteado Porteño style of Argentina by Gustavo Ferrari.
Wayne Osborne at work on his Dickens portrait.
Wayne Osborne at work on his Dickens portrait.
Dave Correll at work on a little coffee panel.
Dave Correll at work on a little coffee panel.
Risto at work on a small panel.
Risto at work on a small panel.
Neil Melliard demonstrating some pinstriping techniques.
Neil Melliard demonstrating some pinstriping techniques.
Inspired by the screening of Horn Please, Sign Painter Movie’s John Lenning gets to work on a panel for the charity auction, raising money for Arthritis Research UK.
Inspired by the screening of Horn Please, Sign Painter Movie’s John Lenning gets to work on a panel for the charity auction, raising money for Arthritis Research UK.
Dan shows off his Horn Please panel, a John Lenning original, after bidding for it in the auction.
Dan shows off his Horn Please panel, a John Lenning original, after bidding for it in the auction.
Shading and shadows demonstration with David Kynaston.
Shading and shadows demonstration with David Kynaston.
David Kynaston’s signwriter box.
David Kynaston’s signwriter box.
Eye candy in the car park from David Kynaston.
Eye candy in the car park from David Kynaston.
Adding a bit of colour to the usually dull vehicles in Rochester’s car parks.
Adding a bit of colour to the usually dull vehicles in Rochester’s car parks.
Ash Bishop talking Robin Simpson through some shading techniques.
Ash Bishop talking Robin Simpson through some shading techniques.
Decorating the hood in the car park.
Decorating the hood in the car park.
Jasper lettering the Love & Thunder van.
Jasper lettering the Love & Thunder van.
Lettering on this old truck with the payment going to Arthritis Research UK, the designated charity for the whole weekend.
Lettering on this old truck with the payment going to Arthritis Research UK, the designated charity for the whole weekend.
Back of the truck, ‘hand signals only’.
Back of the truck, ‘hand signals only’.
Detail of the truck door.
Detail of the truck door.
The Pearly King of Mile End, the Wandering Scribe and me getting photo bombed by Mike Meyer.
The Pearly King of Mile End, the Wandering Scribe and me getting photo bombed by Mike Meyer.
Morris Dancers show the international visitors what British culture is all about…
Morris Dancers show the international visitors what British culture is all about…
Mick Pollard shows off his Morris Dancing skills.
Mick Pollard shows off his Morris Dancing skills.
One of the many hand-lettered pages from Samuel Welo’s Studio Handbook.
One of the many hand-lettered pages from Samuel Welo’s Studio Handbook.
Cooper at work on his panel.
Cooper at work on his panel.
Sarah Bishop applying size ahead of gilding these caravan decorations.
Sarah Bishop applying size ahead of gilding these caravan decorations.
Sign created by Bob Perry to let the people of Rochester know about the exhibition of work inside the Corn Exchange
Sign created by Bob Perry to let the people of Rochester know about the exhibition of work inside the Corn Exchange
Bob Perry adapts Mick’s signature for himself
Bob Perry adapts Mick’s signature for himself
Pinstriping panels on display.
Pinstriping panels on display.
Jemma Thompson’s alphabet fade.
Jemma Thompson’s alphabet fade.
Andy Wright’s glass panel, started before the meet and finished in Rochester.
Andy Wright’s glass panel, started before the meet and finished in Rochester.
Cornbread illustrates one of Dickens’ less well-known lines.
Cornbread illustrates one of Dickens’ less well-known lines.
Some work from the Netherlands’ Ferry Winkler.
Some work from the Netherlands’ Ferry Winkler.
A sign shop is born.
A sign shop is born.
David Kynaston panel with a timely message.
David Kynaston panel with a timely message.
Team effort from Dave Correll and David Kynaston, produced for Stewart McLaren.
Team effort from Dave Correll and David Kynaston, produced for Stewart McLaren.
One of many pieces taking the mick out of Mick the host.
One of many pieces taking the mick out of Mick the host.
The finale, pizzas and photographs in the sun outside Rochester Castle.
The finale, pizzas and photographs in the sun outside Rochester Castle.

Thank you to Mick, Kate, Sarah, Cathy and everyone who attended for making it such an amazing weekend. I feel a few days of ‘post-meet blues’ coming, roll on the next one!

Find more Letterheads event reviews here at bl.ag online, and subscribe to receive news of future meets.