Mon. May 16th, 2022

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

A LOOK BACK IN TIME: Naming of the streets…

2 min read

The Isle of Wight Observer of 19th April 1856 contains an article and a reader’s letter signed only with an X, about new street signs being erected in Ryde, complaining both about the design and the fact that they were being fastened to people’s homes without permission.

Proof (if it were needed) that complaining about the council is a time-honoured Island tradition.

NAMING OF THE STREETS.- The most indignant complaints have reached us relating to the Commissioners fixing upon houses of large black plates upon which the names of the streets are written in small white letters, so that the black bears the proportion of 3 to 1 to the white. Some liken the shape and appearance of the plates unto breast plates, but for our parts we think the designer chose for his model the outline of a crab-shell; indeed, the combine the greatest amount of ugliness with the least possible utility. Some householders have absolutely stripped them off, as they are, to make matters worse, fixed over the entrance doors or between the dining and drawing room windows, without leave or license. It is of the greatest utility that the names of streets should be legibly written, but why was not some one whose business is amongst “black and white” consulted as to the shape of letter and proportion of each color for appearance and utility?

To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer.
Sir,- The Commissioners lately invaded my shrubbery without a shadow of notice and nailed upon my house two hideous looking plates, for which they are clearly liable to action. If they do not remove them, I shall; for I will not suffer them to disfigure my house.
Why, in the name of Common Sense, could they not have put arms on the lamp posts, similar to the old direction posts, to indicate the streets? Such an obvious plan, however, would have too much utility and cheapness in it, without being offensive to individuals, to recommend itself to the Chairman of the Highway Committee, who will ride his own hobby-horse at whatever cost.