Thursday, 03 October 2019 11:54

Hasty removal of historic Barnet sign

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Gary Murphy, licensee of the Mitre, and the Historic Barnet sign before it was deemed hazardous for pedestrians Gary Murphy, licensee of the Mitre, and the Historic Barnet sign before it was deemed hazardous for pedestrians
A Barnet Museum information sign that told the history of the coaching taverns that once lined Barnet High Street was removed within days after Barnet Council’s highways department declared it was a hazard for pedestrians.

No sooner had Gary Murphy, licensee of the Mitre public house – that dates from 1636 – congratulated the museum on its initiative than the sign was hit by a vehicle that mounted the kerb and the sign was declared an obstruction on the pavement.

Even though the museum had spent months obtaining permission for Historic Barnet signs along the High Street, the highways department ordered the removal of the board from outside the Mitre on the grounds that it was “hazardous to pedestrians” under the 1980 Highways Act.

“A disappointing and disheartening day” was how volunteers at the museum summed up their feelings when the sign, which had been badly damaged in one corner, had to be removed from the High Street.

A few days earlier Mr Murphy told the Barnet Society that the sign outside the Mitre had been greatly appreciated by his customers and by people walking along the High Street.

A disappointing and disheartening day

“The information board attracted attention immediately and it was obvious people really are interested to read about the taverns that once lined the High Street.”

In the days when Barnet was a famous coaching town on the road from London to York up to 150 coaches a day used to pass along the High Street.

There has been a similarly warm and appreciative welcome for the Historic Barnet information sign installed in Church Passage, explaining the history of the Barnet parish church of St John the Baptist, and another beside the old drinking fountain and pond at the High Street end of Hadley Green.

Each information board explains the history of Barnet and its importance as the site of the 1471 Battle of Barnet.

Museum volunteers researched and produced the boards as part of the Battle of Barnet project, which was financed in large part by the Heritage Lottery Fund and which inspired the hanging of medieval banners along the High Street during the summer months and the Barnet Medieval Festival which is to be held again next June for the third year running.



  • Comment Link Thursday, 03 October 2019 19:41 posted by David

    Rapid removal of something that adds cultural value to the area (Heritage sign). Endless delay and lack of action (one year+) on something that genuinely obstructs pedestrians and is a flat out eyesore. (Weird “temporary” barriers outside Paddy Power). Another sterling days work for the council Highways Department.

  • Comment Link Friday, 04 October 2019 11:01 posted by rob

    That's a shame, I noticed it the other day and thought it was a great idea. I don't understand how it is a danger to pedestrians?

    Surely cars mounting the pavement and bashing into things are much more of a danger as are advertising hoardings disguised as telephone boxes (see next story)

  • Comment Link Friday, 04 October 2019 11:07 posted by Tom

    Sorry, but I can't understand why it was ever approved and I'm glad it's gone. There are too many of these naff signs around, with their Olde Worlde lettering and fake yellowed parchment. Why do we need a sign anyway? It's a bit like putting one outside St Paul's saying "Historic St Paul's Cathedral". Let's not dumb down the town with these awful signs.

  • Comment Link Friday, 04 October 2019 20:56 posted by Derek Epstein

    Those hazardous telephone boxes and advertising boards will certainly have to go then, not to mention all those lampposts and bus stop posts that people are constantly walking into. Has the Conuncil been asked to explain in what sense the board was more hazardous than those?

  • Comment Link Saturday, 05 October 2019 19:15 posted by Tony

    These heritage signs are brilliant. Many people aren't aware of Barnet's historic past and these little boards are pitched just right. I've noticed people of all ages, including children, reading them with considerable interest. Thank you Barnet Museum! I do hope you won't be put off by the problems you've encountered and I'm looking forward to seeing more boards in due course.

  • Comment Link Monday, 07 October 2019 09:56 posted by Local resident

    Strange how other installations that are "hazardous to pedestrians" - i.e. inanimate objects - are allowed to stay. Those ugly advertising hoardings for example.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 22 October 2019 13:36 posted by Peter Richardson

    The sign was hit by a vehicle that mounted the kerb and the sign was declared an obstruction on the pavement.“hazardous to pedestrians” under the 1980 Highways Act. Surely the vehicle that drove on the pavement not the road is the hazard........?

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 22 October 2019 13:36 posted by Sandra Buckley

    This is so disappointing and unnecessary. They allow scaffolding to obstruct for months on end and no issues but something positive has to go

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 22 October 2019 13:37 posted by Simon Cohen

    Crazy lack of communication

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 23 October 2019 10:19 posted by a Barnet resident

    Could the board not have been moved to the wall of the Mitre, in the space between the windows?

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