Essex Cast Iron Posts - Introductory Notes
Click here for listing of KNOWN SURVIVING CAST IRON POSTS IN ESSEX (567 KB)

THE ESSEX ARCHIVES - Pictures of lost posts.  

Unlike milestones, the guidepost, also referred to as signpost, finger post or direction post, still has an everyday purpose, especially in rural areas.  Old wooden examples still to be seen into the 1950s have long since disappeared; in fact many were probably not re-erected in 1944.  Post war, they were usually replaced by new wooden signs or precursors of the modern reflective types so common throughout the United Kingdom today.  19th century cast iron posts with fingered arms were still fairly common into the 1920s but now probably destroyed except one preserved in the Upminster Tithe Barn Museum.

A survey is currently being made to ascertain the number of old iron guide posts extant in Essex.  'Old' means those erected prior to c.1939 and mainly comprise cast iron examples ordered by Essex County Council or their agents in the 1920s and 1930s.  The majority of the 1920s and 1930s posts were manufactured by the Maldon Iron Works of Fullbridge, Maldon, Essex.  Although still fulfilling their role in guiding the motorist and walker alike, their future is not guaranteed and many suffer from neglect as well as destruction on the grounds of being in "an unsafe condition".  From the same period, although not as yet reliably dated, are others by Stanton Ironworks, Derbyshire.  The Stanton types are generally recognisable by their narrow ring (annulus) finial castings on the post and rounded ends to the arms.

More details of the posts manufactured by Maldon Iron Works for Essex County Council have recently become available.  The ledgers, daybooks, order books, etc., of the company from 1873 to 1954 have been catalogued by the Essex Record Office.  They may be found under record D/F 11 (with about 50 sub-divisions).  The cost of Maldon Iron Works posts with arms varied between 4/15/- (4.75p) to 6/10/- (6.50p) in the 1920s.  7 inch arms were 12/6 (62p) and 10 inch arm 15/- (75p).  An extra 5/- (25p) was incurred for a single stagger (one arm above the other) or 10/- (50p) for a double stagger.  This was to cover the cost of extra collars between the arms.

My thanks to Brian Barrow and Jim Young for their assistance and images of Uttlesford guideposts. 

PICTURES OF SURVIVING ESSEX POSTS - Use hotspot map or links below.



Pictures of Essex Cast Iron Guideposts

To speed up download times the county has been split into convenient local authority areas.  Click on one of the links or the map below. [Work underway so many blank pages for a while.]

Braintree completed 23 April 2005. / Greater London added 19 May 2005 / Brentwood Borough District and Harlow added 20 May 2005 / Colchester and Maldon added 21 May 2005 / Tendring, Rochford and Epping Forest added 22 May 2005 / Remaining pages added 2 June 2005.
















Greater London (Essex in London) over in the bottom left hand side of the map.



Unlike milestones along known routes, old guide posts are harder to locate due to their random dispersal in mainly rural minor roads.  If you know of the location of any old guide posts please notify me so that I can get them recorded.  Do you you have any photographs of guide posts (or milestones, tollhouses and boundary markers) either as a specific subject or part of a larger view?  If you have and would be willing to loan for copying email me.  Essex examples preferred but interesting examples from other counties for inclusion is this website would be considered.