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Clifford Headford – A Life’s Work

This project was produced in response to the 2017 ISTD brief ‘Makers’, which asked to ‘celebrate the life’s work of a crafts person(s) from your local area’.

After some difficulty trying to find some traditionally taught signwriters local to Bristol, I happened to stumble across an Instagram post from Dapper Signs (James and Katie Cooper). At the time, they had recently visited a 96-year-old retired signwriter from Warmley, named Clifford Headford. They had accompanied Sam Roberts (Mr Ghost Signs and Better Letters), who was interviewing Cliff for the first of a series of short films about retired signwriters, which you can see here.

Sam kindly put me in touch with Cliff’s carer Karen Gilmore. Shortly afterwards, I was given the pleasure to visit and interview Cliff myself, in November of 2016.

Sadly, Cliff passed away in January of 2017. Having been provided with an opportunity to meet such an interesting and inspiring individual, I hope that this publication helps not only to preserve the craft of traditional signwriting, but also to celebrate the life of this unique Bristolian.


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