There are many pretty village signs here in
England and the one marking the entrance to the
lovely little , in Merseyside,
is a perfect example. It’s attractive and colourful and, though not physically
accurate – the tower of St Mary’s Church doesn’t actually loom over the small
cottages next to where local giant John Middleton lived, the sign advertises
the town’s attractions in a much more subtle way than a huge neon sign. I’d
definitely recommend a visit to this delightful town – you can read more about
things to see here. village
The ford at Hale was for a long time the principal pass over the Mersey between Liverpool and
It ceased to be generally used about 150 years ago; but almost within living
memory horses were taken over by this way for hunting in Warrington .’ Cheshire
The ford is no longer usable, of course, and it
Milepost on Trent and Mersey Canal
We move on to a different waterway now, leaving behind the River Mersey and heading to a section of the
and near Northwich. The canal weaves
its way through the English countryside for 93 miles, running from Preston
Brook in Mersey Canal Cheshire to Shardlow in South Derbyshire, and all along its length you can find mile
posts like these, designed to inform passing river traffic of the distances to
the canal’s start and end points.
The original cast-iron posts were made in the early 19th century to a standard design, with a circular post and embossed inscriptions on the faces of the moulded head, all painted in distinctive black and white. The post maker’s name and the date are shown on a quatrefoil on the front of the post – and here we have a little mystery. The milepost shown at left above (located near Marston, inscribed ‘Shardlow 84 miles, Preston Brook 8 miles’) appears as Grade II listed on the English Heritage register of protected structures, where it is described as showing ‘R&D Stone 1814’ for the maker’s details. In fact, as you can see in my photo, the details are ‘T&MCS 1977’, which seems to indicate that this is not the original milepost and that it was replaced by the Trent and Mersey Canal Society in 1977. The photo at right shows one of the originals, made in 1819, which sits two miles further along the canal, near Barnston. (I have emailed English Heritage to advise them of the change.)
200 yards to a lock or swing bridge. Once a boat had passed the post, it was assured of its correct place in the queue. The first mention of them came in the rule book for 1853’:
A post placed at a distance of 200 yards above and below each lock. Vessel first coming within such distance shall have priority over any other vessel passing in the same direction. No vessel to moor within 200 yards of any lock, bridge or weir unless loading or unloading.
Colin believes the signs we see today are more recent replacements for the original posts, and probably date from the 1920s or 1930s. My sincere thanks to Colin for providing these fascinating details.
It seems an eminently sensible solution to me and, when you can buy such pretty house-name signs as these two examples, who wouldn’t rather have a name than a number?