Road traffic sign, 1904-1919.
Reason for Listing
The Traffic Caution Sign, High Street, Harlington, erected between 1904 and 1919, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: a rare surviving example of an early-C20 road traffic sign, very few of which remain in their original location;
* Design: the sign has a decorative quality and level of detailing that is not found on later versions of this type of sign, which are mostly finished to standardised patterns;
* Historic interest: it is representative of road traffic management on English roads prior to the establishment of the Ministry of Transport.
Although some of the earliest known traffic warning signs were introduced in the mid-C19 by an organisation called the 'Bicycle Union', it was not until the 1903 Motor Car Act that legislative power was provided to allow local authorities to erect their own signs. The subsequent circular from the Local Government Board, dated 10 March 1904, recommended designs to local authorities for four types of traffic sign. This specified that the caution sign, for ‘dangerous corners, cross roads, or precipitous places’ should be a hollow red equilateral triangle with 18 inch sides.
The circular recommended that signs should be placed about 50 yards from the spot to which they applied and that the under-side of the sign should be not less than 8ft from the ground. The design of the supporting post was not specified. The Caution triangle remained the recommended warning for a hazard until the 'Standardisation of Road Direction Posts and Warning Signs Form 39' was issued on 28 February 1921 after the formation of the Ministry of Transport in 1919. These recommendations changed the triangle's meaning to a Danger triangle and required standard plates, specifying the hazard to be encountered, to be affixed beneath the triangle and the posts to be painted white.
The sign, erected between 1904 and 1919 to indicate the crossroads where Sipson Lane and Cranford Lane meet the High Street, remained in its original position until the layout was altered to a mini-roundabout. The sign was then moved a metre away from the carriageway to accommodate a modern road sign. Photographic evidence shows that the post was adapted in line with later legislation with the addition of a rectangular plate bearing a crossroads sign and painted in black and white bands.
The sign comprises a red-painted metal hollow equilateral triangle mounted on an elaborate white-painted cast-iron post with an overall height of 9ft (2.7m). The post is octagonal in section on a square base and topped by a flat, flared mount for the sign. Below the mount are moulded decorative bands separated by a row of large octagonal bolts which secure the mount and give the effect of a capital. Near the foot of the post, between two further moulded bands, are the letters CCM (County Council of Middlesex), repeated on each side of the post and separated by floral studs. On the base of the post is an oval makers' plate reading 'PARSONS / MAKERS / BRIERLEY HILL'.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.