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Friday, May 20, 2022
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A sign of success

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I was interested to see the lovely picture of the ensemble of bus shelter, notice board and signpost at Blackwell crossroads on the cover of your February issue. 

Some six years ago this spot had become in need of tidying up and following an initiative by Lickey and Blackwell Parish Council, Bromsgrove District Council constructed the bus shelter and roadside furniture that are shown in your photograph. 

The particularly imaginative feature is the cast iron signpost, the finger boards of which were made by Gregory’s of Cannock using original 1870 moulds.

The project was steered by the then parish council chairman Ron Brown and Patrick Lees, the district council’s project engineer at the time. The village name appears on the masthead.   

The Milestone Society is committed to the preservation of milestones and traditional waymarkers. Parishes were given a statutory duty to erect waymarkers at important junctions of highways in 1697. 

The earliest surviving observation of the new finger posts was written by the celebrated wayfarer Celia Feinnes in about the year 1700. Passing through Lancashire she wrote:

“…in most parts of this principality at all cross wayes there are Posts with Hands pointing to each road with the names of the great town that it leads to, which does make up for the length of the miles that strangers may not loose their road and have it to goe back againe . . .”

Milestone Society members like to call all signposts ‘finger posts’ even though relatively few today actually feature ‘fingers’. 

Terry Keegan, a founder member of the society and who lives in Worcestershire, does a talk on the subject of such waymarkers to societies and other groups in the county. Log on to https://www.milestone-society.co.uk

Neville Billington
Bromsgrove