An unusual auction is coming up next month with a chance to acquire some rather unique — and based on the estimate prices — curiously cheap bits of London memorabilia.

Westminster City Council and Transport for London are upgrading all of their signposting in the Capital as part of the Legible’ London campaign… and are flogging off the family silver the old signs they are taking down.

Some of them are frankly about as obscure as it is possible to get — who’s even heard of the Planning Inquiry Chamber? Hardly anyone, which is why the estimate is just £10-£20 for the sign.

bbffd057ecc48dff90013585276ad830

Lots pointing towards local toilets, that I suspect will be snapped up by oh-so-trendy pubs and restaurants.

13461883d75902e386c3552330bb2db0

Maybe a few pointing to your place of work – should you work (or live) in such an august institution that needed street signs?

568d0e29fe461ed11a05aabb920576cc

Some might appeal to transport geeks.

2cce6b931fbc0913d45a1e1408232bf4

The auction is however not taking place in London, but rather curiously in West Sussex, as part of a wider sale of garden ornaments by an auction house.

Personally, I’m sure the bids would have been higher if the sale had been held in Westminster, and at a venue easier for the general public to attend. Oh well.

The auction takes place next month — on the 21st May — and the full listing is here.

On a personal note, while I appreciate the need for signage to be improved and standardised to make it easier to follow, part of me is sad to see signs taken down like this. Part of the charm when I wander around the places is seeing very old, very shabby street signs dotted around the place.

They add heritage to a place in a manner that is sometimes all too quickly lost when the buildings around them are redeveloped.

Street signs are a part of our heritage — we shouldn’t be so quick to discard them in favour of the perpetual calls for standardisation.

Also on ianVisits

Tagged with:

Whats's on in London: today or tomorrow or this weekend

6 comments on “Westminster Council is selling off its street signs
  1. Phil Baines says:

    Old(ish) does not necessarily equal heritage. These directional signs are all newer than 1990 and have no redeeming qualities whatsoever, the lettering is too thin and the letter-spacing too tight to aid reading at any distance, they were unfit for purpose from the start. Rejoice that they are gone.

  2. Jim says:

    I think you’ve misread it. Lots 1 to 127 (none of which are street signs or related) are part of the live auction on 21st May. The signs are part of a sealed bid, so presumably you don’t need to physically be in Sussex, although I can’t see on the website how you submit a bid. “Sealed bids must be submitted by 5pm BST on Wednesday 22nd May as the bids will be opened 23rd May 2013.”

    • IanVisits says:

      I didn’t expect people to have to go there in person – most auctions have online/telephone bidding anyway.

      It just seemed odd to sell off a load of Westminster heritage in a location other than in Westminster.

    • John B says:

      Jim

      on the home page, look under the tab “buying and selling with us” for the link to “sealed bid auctions”…..

    • Jim says:

      Ian: Ah, my mistake; I misread you!

      John: Thanks for that. I am sorely tempted to put in a bid, but I know I don’t need one! I actually quite like the planning inquiry chamber one.

  3. Londonbus says:

    This started in 1994 – I should know because I worked in the office which designed them! They were put in by Acer Consultants (now Hyder Consulting) on the term contract held at the time. In many cases they’ve been superseded by Legible London.