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Countryside fingerpost to Comberbach and Runcorn, Northwich, Cheshire, England, UK

Countryside fingerpost to Comberbach and Runcorn, Northwich, Cheshire, England, UK Stock Photo

Image details


Tony Smith / Alamy Stock Photo

Image ID:


File size:

57.1 MB (1.5 MB Compressed download)


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5472 x 3648 px | 46.3 x 30.9 cm | 18.2 x 12.2 inches | 300dpi

Date taken:

5 August 2016

More information:

A fingerpost (sometimes referred to as a guide post) is a traditional type of sign post primarily used in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, consisting of a post with one or more arms, known as fingers, pointing in the direction of travel to places named on the fingers. The posts have traditionally been made from cast iron or wood, with poles painted in black, white or grey and fingers with black letters on a white background, often including distance information in miles. In most cases, they are used to give guidance for road users, but examples also exist on the canal network, for instance. They are also used to mark the beginning of a footpath, bridleway, or similar public path. Legislation was enacted in England in 1697 which enabled magistrates to place direction posts at cross-highways. However, the oldest fingerpost still extant is thought to be that close to Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire, dated 1669 and pointing to Oxford, Warwick, Gloucester and Worcester (abbreviated to 'Gloster' and 'Woster'). The Highways Act 1766 and Turnpike Roads Act 1773 made use of fingerposts on turnpike roads compulsory. The Motor Car Act 1903 passed road sign responsibilities to the relevant highway authority within the then United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, although no specifications were set. Guidance was given in a 1921 circular that road direction signs should have 2 1⁄2-or-3-inch-high (64 or 76 mm) upper case lettering on a white background and white supporting poles. It also recommended that the name of the highway authority be included somewhere in the design. Mandatory standards (The Traffic Signs (Size, Colour and Type) Provisional Regulations) were passed for Great Britain in 1933 which required poles to painted with black and white bands and lettering to be of a different typeface. Signposts were removed across much of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland during World War II, lest enemy forces use them for navigation