Friday, 8 April 2011

A change for the better

The Salisbury Arms, Cambridge

Not every redecoration of a pub has disastrous consequences for the signboard, and here’s an example of one that changes very much for the better. In fact Charles Wells are to be congratulated for their sensitive sprucing up of the Salisbury, retaining all the various quirky nick-nacks and old posters that decorate the interior.
But this blog isn’t about pub interiors, it’s about signs. Since 2008 this is the sign that has hung outside:

It is, barring one minor detail, an excellent reproduction of the arms of the Gascoyne-Cecils, Marquesses of Salisbury, a family with a distinguished political history, going back to William Cecil, 1st Baron Burleigh, adviser to Elizabeth I. The pub itself is probably named after Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, who began the first of his three stints as prime minister in 1885, the year that the pub was established (as the Salisbury Hotel).
The blazon is given in Cracroft’s Peerage as:
Arms: Quarterly: 1st and 4th, barry of ten Argent and Azure over all six Escutcheons Sable three two and one each charged with a lion rampant of the first; a Crescent for difference (Cecil); 2nd and 3rd, Argent on a Pale Sable a Conger's Head erased and erect Or charged with an Ermine Spot (Gascoyne)
Crests: 1st: six Arrows in saltire Or barbed and flighted Argent bound together with a Belt Gules buckled and garnished Gold over the arrows a Morion Cap proper (Cecil); 2nd: a Conger's Head erased and erect Or charged with an Ermine Spot (Gascoyne)
Supporters: On either side a Lion Ermine
Motto: Sero Sed Serio (Late but seriously)
The only thing missing from this in the sign is the red crescent in the 1st and 4th quarter. But that is a minor quibble: the sign is a major improvement on the hopeless psychedelic nightmare that it replaced:

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