Posted on 23 August, 2017Comments (0)
Avid readers of the Bentworth Parish Council minutes may have spotted that the Council recently agreed to arrange for the signpost – technically known as a “fingerpost” – on the Village Green to be refurbished. Many of you will have noticed someone undertaking the work.
As we live across the road from the signpost, we watched with great interest as the painter set about his work and also plied him with the odd cup of tea and plate of fruit-cake to keep up his spirits in what was a lengthy task.
The work was finished on 12th August and we took a photgraph of the finished article. We also had a chat with the painter.
His name is Norman Beaumont and he has been living in Ropley for 32 years. Norman was for many years a technical illustrator. With the advent of IT in that industry, he decided he would rather move on and he was employed until four years ago by East Hampshire District Council as the official painter of road signs in this part of the county. He painted dozens per year, including all the signs in and around Bentworth. He last re-painted the sign on the Village Green eight years ago and it was he who made the wooden sign hanging underneath the main “finger”, pointing to the Church, Hall and School.
All the original signs in the village are made of cast iron and were produced by a foundry in Andover. Norman believes they probably date from the 1930s. But he reminded me that they were taken down during the Second World War, to confuse any German paratroops who landed in the village! They were stored at a secret central location and put back up only after the War.
One interesting aspect of the signpost on the Village Green is the zig-zag design on the top of the arms. Norman couldn’t say for sure why this was there, but thought it was either to keep off birds, or else to stop children from dangling on the signpost!
Norman is clearly a craftsman, who takes real pride in his work. We can all be grateful to him for having come out of retirement especially to give new life to our signpost.
[Please note that this message is not posted on behalf of Bentworth Parish Council and does not necessarily reflect the Parish Council’s policy]