Inn Signs from around Great Britain


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Hartford : Inn Sign of the King Of The Belgians [2014]

This inn sign at Hartford near Huntingdon depicts Albert I who reigned as King of the Belgians from 1909 to 1934. However, this historic tavern was formerly known as the King of Prussia, a sign that generally referred to Frederick The Great who was viewed as a hero in England following his alliance against the French in 1756. There were other public-houses bearing his name but, following the outbreak of the First World War, the sign became rather awkward for publicans and would no doubt be bad for trade. Most changed the name of their house and this pub converted to King of the Belgians. Ironically, this monarch had close connections with Germany. However, he opposed German forces entering Belgium in 1914 and subsequently served in the Belgian army, particularly during the Siege of Antwerp and the Battle of the Yser. King Albert I died in 1934 at the age of 58 when mountaineering in the Ardennes region of Belgium near Namur. He was succeeded by his son Leopold.

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Gloucestershire : Inn Sign of the Andoversford Hotel [1971]

Photographed in 1971, this is a charming interpretation of this place-specific sign. The name Andoversford is thought to mean Anna's Ford so the artist illustrated an Elizabethan courtier helping a lady across the stepping stones. Sadly, the Andoversford Hotel closed in 1988 when the pub's passing trade was lost to a new by-pass. The site has since been redeveloped with new housing. However, the post for this sign remained in place and was later used for the village sign. Featured in a trade directory for 1889, the hotel was described in an advertisement: "Pleasantly situated on the Cotswold Hills, six miles from Cheltenham, five minutes from the railway station, and within easy reach of four good packs of hounds. Post horses and carriages for hire. Good stabling and loose boxes for hunters. Hunters summered. Excellent bed rooms and private sitting rooms. Special terms for boarders. Good trout fishing. Tennis courts, swings, etc. Dinners and teas provided for picnic and pleasure parties. Splendid drives from the hotel to Chedworth woods, Roman Villa, Foss Bridge, etc. C.A. Arkell, proprietor."

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Leeds : Inn Sign of the The Adelphi [1991]

The Adelphi became quite a popular pub name in the 19th century but is hardly seen these days. Adelphoi is the Greek word for brothers and this explains the sign's origin. Pictured here is Robert Adam, the most celebrated of four architect brothers. With his siblings John, James and William, he designed an ambitious development between The Strand and the River Thames and, proud of their achievement, they named it after themselves. Sadly, hardly any of the buildings remain - many of which were riverside houses raised on arches. The son of the architect who designed the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Robert Adam was born at Kirkcaldy and educated at Edinburgh University. Influenced by his studies of Classical architecture in Europe, he was appointed architect to the realm in 1762 but resigned when returned to Parliament as member for Kinross-shire. Working closely with his brother James, his work includes the Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the Register Office in Edinburgh. He died in London on March 3rd 1792.

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Birmingham : Inn Sign of the Lickey Banker at Rubery [1993]

An inn sign to excite steam buffs. This Rubery boozer celebrates the steam locomotive that was built in 1919 by the Midland Railway. Designed by James Anderson, the sole purpose of this locomotive was banking duties on the Lickey Incline in Worcestershire. Here the 0-10-0 steam locomotive can be seen in its original Midland Railway colours and bearing the number 2290. Under the London, Midland and Scottish Railway it became 22290 and then 58100 when operated by British Railways. Railway workers dubbed the locomotive "Big Bertha" or "Big Emma." After years of service, the engine was withdrawn in May 1956 and scrapped at the Derby Works two years later. As if to prove that modern pub companies cannot do anything right, the signboard of 2015 [shown below] had a generic illustration showing the GWR 7800 Class 7822 Foxcote Manor which operated in Shrophire and Wales for much of its working life.

Birmingham : Inn Sign of the Lickey Banker at Rubery [2015]

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