MT 95/201

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Advance direction signs: experimental signs on A.40; Oxfordshire CC

Date range1957-1966
LocationNational Archives (see all files stored here)
CatalogueSee entry
File baseSeries MT, subseries MT 95


In the mid-1950s, the renegade County Surveyor of Oxfordshire took advantage of the fact that traffic sign regulations were known to be up for review in the near future, and erected a series of direction signs to his own specification.

The Oxfordshire signs first appeared on a realigned and dualled stretch of A40 running east from Oxford towards Wheatley. They were white on a black background, with uppercase pre-Worboys lettering for large towns and mixed-case lettering (complete with specially commissioned lower-case letters) for small towns and villages.

The attention of the Ministry of Transport resulted in Oxfordshire being asked to remove the signs, as they had not been approved. The County Surveyor argued eloquently that they should be retained for experimental purposes, and eventually the Ministry relented, on the condition that the RRL study them (in fact the RRL was already involved in the trial) and that no more signs of this type were erected.

Correspondence towards the end of the file indicates that more of these signs were being erected across the county, against the Ministry's wishes.

The introduction of Worboys signs in 1963 saw these signs prioritised for removal.

There is now an article exploring this subject in depth, with images from the file, on CBRD.

Contents of note

  • Full set of correspondence between the Ministry and Oxfordshire County Council, including a well-written three page report from the County Surveyor in support of his signs.
  • Outline diagrams of all signs erected on the A40 east of Oxford.
  • Black-and-white high-resolution photographs of every sign on the A40 east of Oxford. There are 21 in total.

Links to other files

MT 95/606 Traffic sign design: drawings

People with camera copies

Chris Marshall has a copy of the entire file, including all photographs and diagrams.