Old Motorway Signs

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In the late 1960s the present set of motorway signs was introduced, but until the late 1980s older signs existed on parts of the network. A selection of these, purely for a nostalgic look for those who remember the 'left over' signs that remained on the southern parts of the M1 and rural bits of M6, is on this page.

Where was the last one standing? Andy Kyriakides has a suggestion:

The last 'wonky' sign that I know of existed eastbound on the M4 at junction 6 (A335 to Windsor). From what I know it was only the initial 1 mile sign that was there in a very faded sky blue (compared to the Royal Blue of today's signage) and was in existance until at least the mid-90s.

Can anyone beat that?

1 mile advance direction

1 mile advance direction

The one everyone remembers most, these advance direction signs have the distinctly angled arrows, leading to the name "wonky signs". It is now thought that none of these are left in use.

Half mile advance direction

Half mile advance direction

The second appearance, this time displaying some place names too. The same practice of three signs, each displaying more detail than the last, is still in use today.

Immediate direction

Immediate direction

Just before the start of the sliproad. Incidentally, you wouldn't believe how long it took to get the wonky arrows looking correct.

1 mile advance sign for services

1 mile services

Much the same practice as today, with a sign one mile before services detailing the next services and those that follow it. Today's is headed with "Services" and shows the operator of each station.

Half mile advance sign for services

Half mile services

Differs to today's in that there is far less information - today the price of petrol is often present, along with the name of the company operating the services and the name of the service station itself.

Upcoming merge sign

Upcoming merge

My personal favourite, this caption embodies 50s motoring to me - it has a strange innocence and excitement about motorways to it that I just can't pin down, and it sounds far too grand as well. It remained as a caption above diagrammatic signs indicating the same thing until recently.

Warning sign

Warning sign

The present white, red bordered triangle, as used on the rest of the road system, replaced these specialised signs in the late 1960's.