Life in Colour: Blackboard Signs

Racks of traditionally smoked kippers
Traditionally smoked kippers, Clitheroe

Blackboard signs are made to educate or inspire us and it’s nice when they do it well or with style.

Bodnant's Head Gardener's notes, Winter
Head Gardener’s notes, winter at Bodnant

Bodnant’s Head Gardener’s notes are too beautifully done to be wiped out each month and forgotten.ย I hope someone has taken a photograph of them all down the years as a form of brand collateral. What a sweet resource they would be.

Bodnant Head Gardener's Highlights Board
Laburnum season
Kettlewell weather stone
Kettlewell weather stone

Some blackboard signs in my files are wry, others more serious, but am I the only one who can’t understand how heading a sign Polite notice makes it any more polite?

Please do not feed the birds sign
Polite notice?

And am I the only one left imagining how a rude don’t feed the birds sign might be phrased?

Liverpool Bluecoat Chamber welcome sign
Welcome sign, Bluecoat Chambers, Liverpool
Old House Depot's pecky cypress sign, Jackson
Pecky cypress sign, Old House Depot, Jackson

This one made me smile although not for the first time, that’s more to do with me than the sign, which makes perfect sense. For those who do not know it, pecky cypress wood has holes, and I assume this means the more characterful the holes, the more valuable the wood. It’s a fool’s game trying to explain what amuses you, but the mere word pecky strikes me as funny too. I read that words with k in them are more funny than other words, so perhaps that’s it.

Ale menu sign, The Swan with Two Necks, Pendleton
Ale menu, The Swan with Two Necks, Pendleton

The Swan with Two Necks is one of Mum’s favourite eating places and as a woman of discernment, she knows. She doesn’t sample the ale when she has chance to visit, but for those who like the amber nectar, they are CAMRA winners.

Sheffield plant swop sign
Sheffield plant swop sign

I have such fond memories of the Sheffield plant swop that I still have their badge on my favourite coat. The last one I remember wearing prior to this was a Betsy Clarke All You Need Is Love badge.

Waterstones Deansgate sign saying all dogs welcome
Waterstones sign, Manchester

Every good blackboard sign is evocative, of a place, a time, food or drink, a group of people, a mood or an opportunity. If you have some favourite ones, they’ll fit in with HeyJude’s colours for November, grey and black. She’d love you to join in.

35 Replies to “Life in Colour: Blackboard Signs”

  1. These blackboards offer a lot of life’s best things: plants, ale, books….and I bet there are good eats at your mother’s favorite eatery. Are all these blackboards hand-lettered? Whether yes or no, they all have personality, but, if done by hand, they are impressively personal. A lovely touch. I hope with you that someone is keeping an illustrated history of the Bodnant signs!

    1. There are. I had a food one ready, but then I noticed I had shared it in an earlier post. I think these signs are hand lettered – a great skill to have.

  2. It’s a thing I’ve never collected but so often they make me smile. Why did I read peaky cypress? Made perfect sense to me. And those kippers are surely a bargain…if only I liked them! Wishing a smile-full week, Susan.

    1. It’s a form of brown pocket rot, so the cypress might be feeling quite peaky. I wondered if anyone would notice northern prices – our beer too. I hope your week is smiles-full too.

  3. I can’t remember ever seeing a blackboard sign of any sort. I must be roaming the wrong neighborhoods! Even when I was city-living, I can’t recall them. Perhaps they’ve become more popular now. In any event, they’re certainly creative and fun.

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