Service signs in the street

Vivian Cook

Service signs are put up by providers of services either to tell people that the service is available here or to guide specialist workers to the right manhole, etc.






Service signs are owned by various specialist companies. Their readership is specialised whether to users of the service or workers for the utility service.

On the one hand are general services provided for the public on foot such as telephone kiosks and pillarboxes. The texts on these are minimal noun phrases - Telephone and Post Office - together with a List of collection times etc and appropriate logos such asthe royal monograph <VR> on the pillar-box. The meaning is more in the iconic shape and colouring - the Stowell Street pillarbox is in fact a reproduction of a celebrated 1869 Penfold design - than in the actual text. On the other hand are signs that are only intelligible to a specialist reader such as the fire hydrant sign and manhole cover. These have fragments of code rather than grammatical units and lexical items of English.

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