The Building of Bath Museum seems to have got slightly more than it bargained for when it asked the local authority if it could have some of the directional ‘fingers’ – relating to itself and other Bath Preservation Trust run city-attractions – from an old traditional signpost which was being taken down in Abbey Churchyard.
The whole cast-iron signpost was duly delivered and lies in the courtyard of the old Countess of Huntingdon’s Chapel.
My source tells me some thought was given to erecting it ‘in-situ’ but that would involve digging and cementing a hole in a sensitive and listed mid-18th century environment so – the relevant fingers will be removed – and the post disposed of.
I have no idea of the scrap value of what would be left-over so decided to check it out with a local scrap merchants who, unfortunately, do not deal in ferrous metals.
However, if they did, it would still not bring very cheering news. Seems cast iron has a value of around ten pence a kilo compared with copper at £4 for the same weight.
The Virtual Museum remembers being there – some months ago – to witness the old sign being dug up and carried away.
It seems the vast majority of traditional signs are being replaced with the monolith wayfinding map information installations which is now widespread across the city. I was told 33 map monoliths – to give them their proper title – have already been rolled out.
The Council has apparently received ‘excellent feedback about the maps which provide people with a clear sense of their surroundings and enable them to explore and experience the hidden streets and the alleyways of the city and to appreciate the breadth and number of attractions on offer.’
The intention has always been – l was told – to replace the existing finger posts with the new City Information System as part of a plan to de-clutter the streets of signage – but a small number of finger posts will be kept on the edge of the city centre where the map monoliths are not present.
A specialist independent report commissioned by B&NES had concluded that having two information systems in place at the same time would be unnecessary and confusing.
Seems the existing finger-post are often inaccurate and pointing in the wrong direction or the direction offered was not sufficiently readable.
Returning to that Bath scrap merchant – they did offer to take the post off the museum’s hands – if they could get it across to them and might even offer a fiver for their troubles!