Sunday, 15 September 2019

Village sign in Old Buckenham

History of local village signs

The speaker at the August meeting of Old Buckenham WI was Michael Weatherstone. He had been a policeman and later a trainer for professional drivers whilst working for the Advanced Driving School but his hobby was Norfolk's village signs. Having acquired copies of three books on signs written by two ladies in the 1970s containing a limited selection of signs, he decided he would visit as many Norfolk signs as possible. Over 15 months and driving about 5,000 miles he claims to be one of very few people to have visited every village and hamlet in Norfolk. The result was a well-illustrated book of over 400 signs published in 2014 and called 'Norfolk, a History Through its Village Signs'. Several members bought a copy. Many signs were designed and made by Harry Carter, a nephew of Howard Carter of Tutankhamen fame. They take many different forms and are made of a wide variety of materials, traditional things such as wood, metal or slate but the Diss sign is made of fibreglass. It shows a Diss farthing as well as King John and John Skelton, tutor to Henry VIII. About half of Norfolk's signs were instigated by Women’s Institutes as was the one in Old Buckenham. Showing a selection of pictures, Michael explained his experiences and some of the history behind the signs. The oldest survivor is at Wolferton dating from 1912 that shows Fenir the wolf from Norse legend. However many are of more recent date and many have been restored or remade over the years. 
Arrangements were made for the forthcoming village Produce Show, for a visit to Norwich Cathedral's Broderers Guild and a tour of the Hotter shoe shop in Norwich.
The next meeting is on Thursday 24 October which is Old Buckenham Women's Institute’s 52nd birthday party.

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