Fingerpost sign with crown on top

Just outside Pooley Bridge and on the junction between Penrith and Tirrel is this unusual fingerpost with a crown on top.

Fingerpost sign just outside of Pooley Bridge in North Cumbria

Fingerpost sign just outside of Pooley Bridge in North Cumbria

Often to be found at junctions of old country lanes, the fingerpost  sign has become one of those things to have near any rural community along with the traditional red telephone box.

It is thought that the earliest known example of a fingerpost, is a post from 1699 near Chipping Campden in the  Cotswolds.  A replica of Joseph Izod’s fingerpost is located on the A44 at the junction with the B4081.

Fingerpost history

The General Turnpike Act 1773 required trustees to erect signs informing travellers of the distance to the nearest town.

Many of the earliest signs were erected by the Automobile Association (AA) and the Royal Automobile Club (RAC).

The Motor Car Act 1903  passed responsibility for the provision of all traffic signs to local authorities.

In 1921 the Ministry of Transport produced a manual for direction signs.

It recommended: –

  • Standard 2.5 or 3-inch black upper case lettering on a white background,
  • That the name of the authority responsible for maintenance should be included in the design,
  • The supporting posts were to be white.

These requirements were set down in regulations in 1933 however with a slightly modified character set and paint scheme. This saw the introduction of black and white posts.

Crown on top of fingerpost road sign

Crown on top of fingerpost road sign

Some local variations have taken place over the years to the official regulations.

In Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall the posts are red with white lettering.

Many posts also carry finials in the form of discs, rings, balls and pyramids marked with county names and sometimes map grid references.

The reason for the crown on top the sign near Pooley Bridge however is unclear.

Do you know the reason for a crown on this fingerpost?  Let us know via the comments area below.

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