Monday, 30 April 2012

Tiverton museum

St Andrew Street is a rather narrow thoroughfare but this is where the only ghost sign I noticed in the Mid-Devon town of Tiverton can be seen. Actually it is not a proper ghost sign as the museum it invites people to visit is still open to the public, albeit not on Sundays (which was exactly when we were there).

Tiverton museum opened in 1960 and moved in its present premises in 1967. Using different colours and typefaces, the sign lists some of the collections on display. Surprisingly there is a spelling mistake, which was never corrected.

50 Yards on Left
Open Daily 10.30 to 4.30
Local History . Costumes
Transport . Clocks
Village Smithy
Victorain [sic] Laundry
... ... ...emonts
Local Industries & Crafts
Grand Western Canal
Railway Gallery
With G.W.R. Loco.

Since the gallery for the Great Western Railway 0-4-2T No. 1422 was only built in 1979, one can assume this sign was painted either in time for the opening or at a later date, possibly in 1985 (see below).

A second sign on the façade of this derelict building shows the crest of Tiverton.

The crest, with the Latin sentence Sigilium oppidi de Tyverton (Seal of the Town of Tiverton), represents in its upper part the church of St Peter and the motte-and-bailey castle. Below the town is shown with the two bridges spanning the River Exe and the River Lowman that replaced the two fords which gave Tiverton its name (originally it was Twyfordton, meaning "The town of two fords"). Underneath the town houses a woolsack is a reminder of the importance of the woolen industry to the area.
This sign was painted in 1985, while Ron Turner was Mayor.

Why were these signs painted there? Their visibility is poor. The street is narrow and, as it is winding, the building cannot be seen from the main thoroughfare, Fore Street. The building certainly belongs to the municipality (it appears to be connected to other municipal offices) thus consent for painting these signs was certainly easy to obtain. I cannot find any other explanation.

No ghost sign at the museum itself but a mural representing its largest exhibit, GWR locomotive 1442, nicknamed the "Tivvy Bumper." Locomotives of the 1400 class could be seen pulling trains between Tiverton and Tiverton Junction, where passengers would change for the mainline services to Bristol, London and other destinations.

On the mural, painted by D. G. Weatherley in 1995, the train is at a typical West Country halt consisting of a short platform and a wooden shelter. However it cannot be Halberton Halt, the only stop between Tiverton and Tiverton Junction, since the shelter there was located under a bridge.

Location: St Andrew Street, Tiverton, Devon / Pictures taken in April 2012


helen said...

A lot of history there.

scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.