Thousands needed to restore historic Norwich village sign

Hammond and Stratford team at the Eaton village sign

Hammond and Stratford's Shaun Kelly, area valuer, social media executive Saffron Dixon, Jacob Seaman, branch manager and Sophia Smith, property consultant at the Eaton village sign - Credit: Hammond and Stratford

A campaign to restore a much-loved village sign is ramping up thanks to the involvement of a Norfolk-based company.

The traditional-style wooden village sign in Eaton at Church Lane and Eaton Street was installed in 1956.

The sign depicts an elephant holding a barrel in its trunk - a play on words on the village's name. The elephant represents the 'E' syllable and the barrel a 'tun'.

Places - EEaton village sign presented to the City Council and to Eaton by Mr F.R. Eaton forme

An undated photograph of the Eaton village sign, which was installed in 1956 - Credit: Archant Library

The sign - which requires a new post, repairs to some carved details and repainting - can be viewed from Hammond and Stratford Estate Agents' office, which prompted the company to get involved in restoring the sign.

The agents have started their own fundraiser - with the aim of raising £1,100 to support Eaton Village Residents Association's (EVRA) £3,000 campaign to preserve and maintain the city council-owned sign.

Saffron Dixon, social media executive for the agents, said: "I myself live and work in Eaton and we can see it from both our branch and head office. It's looking a bit tired which is sad.

Saffron Dixon, social media executive at Norwich estate agents Hammond and Stratford

Saffron Dixon, social media executive at Norwich estate agents Hammond and Stratford - Credit: Hammond and Stratford

"It's important to give it a new lease of life and reflect how lovely Eaton is.

"Everything here is very well maintained and it will be nice for the sign to reflect that, too.

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"It will be nice for it to be enjoyed for generations to come and for us to be a part of both Eaton's and the sign's legacy."

 Village packageEaton village sign with backfround of HSBC bankPhoto: Adrian JuddCopy: For:

Eaton's sign, pictured in 2006 - Credit: Archant © 2006

Managing director Glen Hammond added: "We are proud to support the restoration of the Eaton village sign which has become an iconic marker amongst residents as the heart of the village.

"We are fortunate to enjoy the sign every day from our branch windows so we look forward to seeing it returned to its former glory."

Glen Hammond, managing director at Hammond and Stratford Estate Agents

Glen Hammond, managing director at Hammond and Stratford Estate Agents - Credit: Hammond and Stratford

Although the sign is owned by the city council, EVRA has previously arranged and paid for repainting.

A Norwich City Council spokeswoman said: "It’s been fantastic to see the progress of the fundraiser and the community spirit to refurbish the historic village sign which has welcomed visitors to Eaton for 65 years.

"The residents association work incredibly hard and we’re working closely to move this project forward and agree practical timescales alongside other council commitments." 

How Eaton has changed

Chris Stebbing, chairman of EVRA, said that the sign's restoration will honour Eaton's roots and propel it into the future.

"Eaton has changed enormously," he explained.

Chris Stebbing, chairman of Eaton Village Residents Association (EVRA)

Chris Stebbing, chairman of Eaton Village Residents Association (EVRA) - Credit: Chris Stebbing

"The village has obviously grown since 1956. Back then it was just a few houses at the crossroads where the sign stands, but now it's more than 1,500 houses.

"It's the only sign like this in the city.

"Where I live in Greenways, that didn't exist until the 60s, and the Cringleford bypass was built in 1975.

"Waitrose - once Roys - wouldn't have been there either in the early days.

"There was once a row of terraced houses behind the Red Lion."

The sign is due to go to the workshop next month and will be reinstalled after a two-three month drying period.