Peter Dawson holding a photograph of the original Village Sign alongside the new sign, 15 June 2010. Photo: Martin Jones.
The original sign was the inspiration of Councillor Betty Suckling, who organised the fund-raising for the project. The sign was designed by Philip Jordan and made by Stephen Harris, both local residents. The design incorporated a knight on horseback, the village name and a shield. It was constructed from wood, marine plywood and paint.
The sign was unveiled by Stan Newell on a very wet day in 1987.
Unveiling the original village sign, 1987. Photo: Cambridge Evening News, reproduced in Trumpington Past & Present , p. 133.
The original village sign, after renovation in 1998. Photo: Peter Dawson, March 1998.
By late 1997, the sign was in need of renovation and Peter Dawson took on the project at the invitation of the Trumpington Women’s Institute, with advice from Stephen Harris and support from Trumpington Farm Company. The sign was moved to the farm workshop, where Peter realised that some of the wood had started to rot and much of the paint had flaked and peeled. Peter had to strip most of the upper pictorial section and the lettering in the middle section to bare wood. The restoration turned out to be a much more extensive and time-consuming project than original envisaged, but the result was well worthwhile, as it gave the sign a further 12 years of life. The renovated sign was reinstalled on 24 February 1998.
Renovation work on the original village sign. Photos: Peter Dawson, 1998.
Peter Dawson standing alongside the renovated original sign. Photo: Peter Dawson, 1998.
Reinstalling the original village sign, February 1998. Photo: Peter Dawson, 1998.
Peter Dawson and Stephen Harris beside the renovated original sign, February 1998. Photo: Peter Dawson, 1998.
Peter Dawson writes: “Before restoration began in late 1997, a photograph of the top section was taken as a guide to ensure true replication of the original design and colours. Sanding, washing and undercoating almost obliterated this section, necessitating a degree of guesswork when re-creating the finer details.
The marine plywood letters ‘TRUMPINGTON’ were prepared and painted in situ, to avoid damage.
The knight’s small shield and the trumpets and crosses on the large shield were carefully removed for separate renovation in the warmth of my conservatory. Antony Pemberton arranged for the sign itself to be moved from the rather dark workshop to an unheated garage with better light near Trumpington Hall.
The small shield was returned to the knight and nailed and glued in place together with its hidden set of coins, originally placed there by Stephen Harris.
Throughout the process, cracks and gaps were carefully filled and up to three coats of enamel paints applied to help seal joints and provide a weather-proof finish. It was decided not to overcoat the sign with clear varnish as had been done originally, because this had lifted some areas of paint.
The back of the sign was coated in black Hammerite paint. The retaining brackets and bolts were de-rusted and similarly painted.
About 120 hours spread over 2½ months were spent on the renovation. The cost of just over £100 was funded by the Trumpington Women’s Institute and the Trumpington Charities.”
Unveiling the original village sign, 1987. Photos: Peter Dawson.