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Inn Signs

  Anchor Bleu
  Inn signs, indicating to travellers where they might find refreshment, date back to at least Roman times. Over the centuries these have developed into an art form and have added much to the diversity of our towns and villages.

  Today these same signs are under threat. Not only are breweries merging and closing and pubs and inns disappearing at a greater rate than ever before but many of the chains that own those remaining are substituting simple written name boards for the pictorial signs. Where once the breweries employed a workforce of artists to create their signs or itinerant artists plied their trade around the country inn signs are now no different from that of any other business. Even those acquiring new pictorial signs are likely to display a screen printed example duplicated elsewhere.

  Inn signs have portrayed local legends and personalities, historical events and allegiances and a host of livestock, occupations and symbols of local importance. Even common names, such as the ever popular Red Lion, have been interpreted in many ways. Now these names are being lost and with them glimpses of our heritage.

  When Eric R. Delderfield produced his books on British Inn Signs in the 1960s he had thousands of establishments to choose from and a host of stories to tell of their past. His books were richly illustrated with the colourful signs common around the country. Today many, such as members of the Inn Sign Society, aim to record the signs of today for posterity. How long before the pictorial sign is only seen in books, photo collections or museums?


Related Links

  The Inn Sign Society

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