High and Dry
Announced recently: pub closures at a rate of 18 per week. Largely due to a rise in tax on beer and cheap supermarket alcohol for the ‘stay at home’ drinker.
The history of pub signs is very interesting. In 1393 King Richard II compelled landlords to erect signs outside their premises in order to make alehouses easily visible to passing inspectors. At this time a large proportion of the population would also have been illiterate and so pictures on a sign were more useful than words as a means of identification.
With the closure of so many public houses a new hobby is emerging; left-behind sign bagging, ie finding pub signs that have been left high and dry by the retreating pub tide. To be found on the frontages of derelict pubs or stranger still phantom signage on the fronts of former pubs now converted to other uses.