Pub Signs in Danger of Dying Out After 615 Years in UK

by Hannah Punitha on Dec 7 2008 3:30 PM

 Pub Signs in Danger of Dying Out After 615 Years in UK
The pub sign is in danger of dying out after 615 years.
A Royal Act in 1393 made it compulsory for inns to have such signs, but in the 21st century, the tradition is in danger of dying out because pub chains are replacing obscure ancient signs with brand names.

The Telegraph quoted Bill Bryson, the travel writer and president of Campaign to Protect Rural England, as saying that a "profusion of bland corporate makeovers" in place of an ancient tradition, is unacceptable to him and many others fond of retaining England's rural traditions.

The CPRE questioned 1,000 people online on their favourite icon of England chosen by celebrities.

The pictorial pub sign nominated by author Sebastian Faulks won 15 per cent of the vote followed by red post boxes and canal boating. Other icons included church spires, stiles, cattle grids and corner shops.

Faulks, the author of Birdsong and the new James Bond novel, said: "People who think of England as a practical country with little flair for the visual would never have imagined that its lanes and roads would be regularly punctuated by what look like cards from a wooden tarot pack."

However, at a time when 36 pubs per week nationally are closing their doors, Bryson is concerned for the future of the pub sign.

"Only around 30 independent pub chains and breweries in Britain are still ordering individually painted signs, amazingly a few of these fine artists are still working and there are some notable examples such as The St Austell Brewery in Cornwall that still employ sign writers," he said.

"But it is a shrinking market and the dominance of a few chains has contributed to the disappearance of traditional British pub names, and led to a profusion of bland corporate makeovers."

Bryson said traditional pub signs must not be allowed to die out.


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