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Edmund

Street Name Signs

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Edmund    8

When did street name signs begin to be used in Sheffield? Has the format changed over the years - have they always been white with black text?

The concept had obviously been considered in some depth by 1868 when Mr.May went freelance with street name signs at some cost to his finances and reputation:

From the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent 18th March 1868

THE ART AND MYSTERY OF ORTHOGRAPHY.

Those who would in future treat of the whole duty of man must include within the catalogue the duty of painting and fixing phonetic street signs, Mr. JAMES MAY, bone button manufacturer, of Pond hill and Cemetery road, has a soul above his occupation. Soaring above buttons, he aims to accomplish a reform in our system of spelling, and adopts a modus operandi peculiarly his own. Had he been like other reformers he would have established a League and made himself its BEALES. He would have got up processions, pulled down park railings, assailed Ministers with phonetic petitions, and placarded the walls with phonetic bills. He would have organised branches, burned phonetic torches, and exhibited his contempt for orthography in letters to the newspapers.

But Mr. MAY takes a line of his own, and astonishes the people of Sheffield by the erection of phonetic street signs. Like many an enthusiast, he is a man of one idea. He has contemplated the evils of ignorance till they have grown huge in his eyes, shutting out the sight of every other ill that flesh is heir to. His "object is to bring about as soon as possible the time when every man, woman, and child shall he able to read letters and words as easily as they can read figures, and with as much certainty." and like many other persons with an "object," he has taken a curious way to attain it. He has erected at various street corners the names of the streets phonetically spelled, thus bringing himself within reach of a clause of the Local Government Act, which provides that the Local Board shall have sole power to name streets, and imposes a penalty of 40s. upon persons giving other names. This prosaic provision considerably affected Mr. MAY's philanthropic project, and brought on him four summonses to answer for his proceedings at the police court. In vain he pleaded the goodness of his object, and inveighed against " the absurdities" which at present exist in our system of spelling."

The MAYOR was inexorable. He could not read the signs, and received the explanation of the CHIEF-CONSTABLE that he was not one of the instructed, with the very decided response that he did not want to be. None of these slights moved Mr.MAY. He expected to be laughed at, and appeared rather to like it. Laughter and jeers had ever greeted great reformers. It was the natural fate of men who lived before their age, and hence it was the fate of Mr. MAY. In spite of present adversity he had faith in the goodness of the cause he espoused. They might fine or imprison, persecute or torment, laugh or sneer, but truth was great and must prevail, and he looked forward to the not very distant day when every " man, woman, and child" will enioy the unutterable of felicity of reading "Klarinse" instead of Clarence, and perhaps " Ma" instead of May, and "butn" instead of button. The spelling reform inaugurated by PITMAN and extinguished by universal neglect, has found a new prophet in Mr. MAY. By singular good fortune such as never fell to the lot of the PITMANS, he has been haled before magistrates and fined. The agitation of 20 years ago was carried on upon old-fashioned principles. and sunk under the dead weight of neglect, but Mr. MAY with happy audacity has made himself famous by infringing the law, and enjoys the great advantage of propagating his hallucination under the aegis of a police court.

The magistrates treated him rather better than he deserved. A harmless enthusiast - he might have been safely discharged as the CHIEF CONSTABLE suggested on payment of costs, but the MAYOR elevated his folly into importance by inflicting a fine of 10s. and 4s. costs in each of the four cases proved. Such a fine affords notoriety and a grievance, and Mr. MAY will show small appreciation of the advantages of his position if he does not so work it as to give renewed life to the almost extinct phonetic folly.

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RichardB    1

Somewhere there is a photo of Cotton Mill Walk sign at the side of the Fat Cat/Alma.

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DaveH    3

Black on white, with black edge border, and not forgetting the district number, sometimes preceeded by the letter S (for Sheffield) in red at the bottom right hand corner, after the road name, is the modern format.

Example below

East Bank Road (Sheffield 2)

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madannie77    4

There's still a lot of the old emamel ones around, dark blue wth white writing

and going rusty.

Such as this one. Shame about the drainpipe.

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tozzin    2

This Street sign as you can see is in a very bad state, even after I reported it over 12 years ago. Sorry about the reflections but I was on the bus at the time.

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RichardB    1

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madannie77    4

Spot on madannie , including rust. :)

A couple more rusty enamel signs

(Is there a separate topic for enamel road signs? I thought there was but I have not found it, only one for enamel signs in general):

 

west_bar.thumb.jpg.b8dfa99903274f4e83363new_street.thumb.jpg.827653e095df33e97d4

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madannie77    4

And a couple of non-rusting wooden signs (which don't seem to have their own topic either)

bridge_street.thumb.jpg.b5079afa89d20da2scargill_croft.thumb.jpg.f7d91f47802c732

 

 

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Calvin72    2

A few questions about street signs :)

When did they become commonplace (or mandatory)? 

Any ideas of chronology? For instance, how old are the enamel signs?

I've seen a couple of stone signs in Nether Edge. Did residents go to the trouble before street names were widespread? Not sure how widespread street names were, or even if their common names were 'unofficial' until naming became more organised? 

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Calvin72    2

Another question :)

Street signs used to be on the side of houses. That doesn't seem to happen any longer. How did that arrangement work? It's been suggested to me that it was Council houses that this occurred with, but was it more widespread than that?

 

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Oldbloke    2

I was led to believe (many years ago), that the council actually paid houseowners a fee to fasten a road sign to their house in the past.

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Lemmy117    0
On 27/05/2016 at 15:30, Oldbloke said:

I was led to believe (many years ago), that the council actually paid houseowners a fee to fasten a road sign to their house in the past.

That's true under a 'wayleave agreement' We had many where wall brackets for street lamps were fitted to private houses or buildings in the town centre, sometimes it could be a nightmare finding out who actually owned the buildings, especially office blocks. This was the reason more lights weren't fitted to buildings. In Scotland the law was different and you could attach anything without the owners permission.

You were never going to get rich on the payments though, only a few pence per year, maybe a shilling. I remember when the original cable TV service was started in the 70's that the cable ran along the wall of my parents house, I think they got 5p per year!

Nigel L

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madannie77    4

Another enamel road sign:

glossop road 1.jpg

 

And if anyone was in any doubt as to the road name, there is a much newer sign underneath!

glossop road 2.jpg

 

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andy1702    0

Here's the stone sign built into the wall on thee nd of Oakdale Road. oakdale road.jpg

Look closely and you'll see traces of what appear to be paint. The red is very noticable, but there is also something that looks like tiny traces of black in the surface (although I'm not as sure abotu the black). Anyway, here it is restored with a bit of CG magic.

oakdale road.jpg

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madannie77    4

Another enamel sign. This one used to intrigue me when I was young as it was the only I knew like it, but I had forgotten it until a conversation with my father last week brought it to mind and was rather pleased to see it still in situ.

i-zpCbw2k-L.jpg

i-VQssqsR-L.jpg

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Calvin72    2

I believe I've read that this name change happened a few years either side of 1900 (there were a lot of street name changes at the time as the city grew, to avoid duplication). Got to love the fact that no-one alive remembers the old name and yet there it is!

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madannie77    4
23 hours ago, Calvin72 said:

I believe I've read that this name change happened a few years either side of 1900 (there were a lot of street name changes at the time as the city grew, to avoid duplication). Got to love the fact that no-one alive remembers the old name and yet there it is!

The maps I have looked at have an annoying gap from 1906 (Green Lane) to one revised in 1914 but not published until 1924 (Scarsdale Road). Even with the time lag often seen with maps it looks like the renaming was in the early 20th Century.

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Edmund    8
9 hours ago, madannie77 said:

The maps I have looked at have an annoying gap from 1906 (Green Lane) to one revised in 1914 but not published until 1924 (Scarsdale Road). Even with the time lag often seen with maps it looks like the renaming was in the early 20th Century.

The first mention of Scarsdale Road in the local papers was June 1904.  Green Lane continues to be used up to 1929, so there was a large degree of overlap, in the minds of local people, if not at the corporation highways department.

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southside    1

The first mention i can find of Scarsdale Road is for a birth at St Pauls, Norton Lees, for a Lucy Styring born at 25  Scarsdale Road in 1903.

This enumerators sheet from the 1901 Census records Green Lane, at Norton Woodseats.

 

Green Lane 1901.jpg

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