The Caversham Village Sign: carved by Stuart King

In some parts of England there is a tradition of carved wooden signs depicting the unique qualities of the area and often erected on the village green. Usually created by a local craftsman, they instill a sense of identity and pride, and are rivaled only by the English pub sign for originality. They are part of our folk art heritage.

Some time ago I received a commission from the Caversham Residents Association, supported by Reading Borough Council, to design, carve and paint a sign to represent the history of the village.

The main design components are the bridge over the Thames, the river itself and a swan, representative of the many that have always been associated with the area. The river theme is completed with a working boat travelling under the bridge and a basket maker creating a willow eel trap.

The medieval church of St Peter is prominently carved to the left-hand side with the equally early pilgrim’s well of St Anne close by. A gypsy caravan is depicted travelling over the bridge just as many original examples would have done years ago because the local firm of Duntons produced them in abundance for travelling folk.

The sign post has been mounted on a tall Oak post in the village centre.

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