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Signs Of The Times

by | 4th, September 2002

‘HANDS UP anyone who knows what Washington Pride is… The in-house journal of US government staff? A mass-produced American sliced loaf? No, it’s a voluntary organisation in Washington New Town, Tyne and Wear, and the Independent reports that it’s at the forefront of a campaign to replace local road signs with text messages.

Ft mn wltm wmn 4 fn & gd tms

But before you groan and bury your heads in your hands, we should explain that in this case, the change is a return to traditional values. The new town’s road signs used numbers instead of names for each of the local districts – a system that has caused confusion and annoyance for visitors ever since.

Now, thanks to Washington Pride, the numbers are to be scrapped, and old-fashioned words brought back. Councillor Colin Galbraith hopes that the change will encourage more people to visit. Washington has a reputation as a social laboratory, having been the first British town to install cable TV, not to mention pioneering double glazing, central heating and pedestrian shopping areas.

Of course, the north-east also pioneered more recent developments such as wearing nylon football shirts 24/7, obsessive parochial patriotism (accompanied by mawkish Pavlovian ”greetin”’), and a host of other disagreeable alcohol-fuelled trends that have subsequently spread to the rest of the country.

Perhaps they should keep their numbers: the fewer impressionable visitors, the better.



Posted: 4th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink