House signs are so commonplace in everyday life that sometimes we barely even seem to notice them. It’s only when you begin to have a good look around you, you realise that house signs are literally everywhere. So, where do they come from and what is their background?
Signs are, in fact, all around us. They provide us with a way of signalling something to others without speaking and believe it or not, this communication is as important today as it ever was. Through a simple sign next to a road, on a building or on a billboard, you can convey an important message about who you are, where you are from and lots of other vital information, such as danger or aide, to the people around you.
Although house signs do not necessarily convey a message of danger they can be important indicators as to who you are, where you live and even what you believe in. In the past this type of sign may not have been strictly necessary as people tended to live in small communities where everybody knew one another. As the communities in which humans lived began to expand so did the tendency for trade and ultimately travel. It was at this point that it became increasingly important that buildings could be identified – for trade and delivery purposes. It wasn’t until 1765 however that Parliament introduced new acts outlining the need for street numbering. London was the first place in the UK to introduce street numbers and slowly other cities and towns followed suit.
House names still remain more commonplace in the countryside than they do in urban areas and this is not only due to the fact that rural areas have less houses and smaller communities but also because of the rather grandeur tradition amongst the upper classes for naming estates and halls. The traditional upper class families would name their estates after a battle they had won or a place or famed person or invention they had connections to.
Although houses named in modern day life have little to do with the upper classes, there still remains a popular trend of naming houses and erecting beautiful plaques and house signs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_sign