Sign of the Times

On Facebook, another member of the Lichfield Discovered group posted a photograph of a shop sign that had been hiding underneath a Connells Estate Agents sign on Bore Street.

What other old signs lurk beneath the plastic facades?

What other old signs lurk beneath plastic facades?

I started to do a bit of reading about the use of signs and lettering on buildings and came across an article in the Independent, which features a self confessed font geek called Anthony Harrington. “Typefaces work well as little milestones,” he says. “They anchor a building to a time and a function, whether it’s commercial or social, and this is a heritage worth preserving”. There’s also a map and an app which aims, ‘to photographically record publicly available lettering and type throughout the capital’.

It’s an interesting idea and so I had a wander around to see what other examples I could find in the Lichfield. In October 1953, the School of Art principal Miss EM Flint declared that city was remarkably deficient in the provision of well-rendered signs and notices. Is this still true sixty years later? Anymore good examples out there?





You have to include a sign that has letters with eyebrows




13 thoughts on “Sign of the Times

  1. I enjoyed the post – I always like looking at signs. One of my favourites is the one at the Cathedral end of Dam Street, warning that The Close is not a public thoroughfare, and is closed to Wagons, Carts and Cattle. I like the lettering, and the words!


  2. Kate,

    I see you found the Wade Street one from 1965-66. There used to be one at the top of Greenhill next to Lea Garden. I have a picture, but not sure if it has gone. The Dam Street one if from 1977, though you would never guess.


    • Don’t think I’d have taken much notice if you hadn’t suggested it & pointed out that it mentions places tgat no longer exist! Still don’t have a clue about Cock Hall though…Also hadn’t appreciated how much variation there was in lettering of road/street signs. I think we could create a game based around these to get people looking & thinking…


  3. Well done Kate,It is so easy to walk past something and not see it ,When most people were unable read signage had to be discriptive of what trade was carried
    out ,Boot makers,Butchers,Chemists,Pubs,Today you sometimes you see signs
    that don’t sell what they seem to like the mobile phone shop in the corn exchange they do not sell phones for monkeys!!.


  4. Nice piece Kate. This handpainted sign is is my favourite locally:

    (Unfortunately the chips aren’t as nice as the sign)

    It’s such a shame that in these days of easily accessible publishing software, any idiot with no sense of aesthetics can make a sign. I’ve seen ones that have clearly been made with Microsoft Publisher :/


    • Thanks, that is nice. One of the points Miss Flint was making back in 1953 was that it was a skilled craft at risk of dying out – it’
      s probably even more at risk these days. It’s a skill that should be more valued I think – it can really enhance a place especially when there’s so much uniformity making everywhere look the same.


  5. The name Quantrills rang a bell. There used to be a pork butcher with that name almost next door to Boots the chemist. A lorry would pull into the side street and off load pigs which were slaughtered and dressed out for the eat.
    Keep up the good work, it is wonderful seeing and reading about things in my home town.


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