Thursday, 18 June 2015

Don't Frighten the Horses!

On a tour around Newtown Textile Museum a few weeks ago I noticed this rather nice applique banner celebrating the Llanidloes to Newtown railway, now defunct. Last week, talking to local historian David Pugh, I heard a bit of the story behind the arrival of the railway in Newtown. It was designed to be cooperative with the canal originally. It arrived on the outskirts of Newtown, from where the goods wagons had to be uncoupled from the engine and towed by horsepower past the paddocks to the canal terminus on the other side of town, so that the sound of the train wouldn't frighten the townspeople's horses. 

I love the idea that the new high speed rail transport was still in thrall to the needs of the beasts of burden at that point. And canal transport, of course, was completely reliant on horses. Those paddocks close to the town centre have long since been built upon, as has the canal terminus, but the character of the area survives in its layout and architecture. And the canal survives. Which is what makes me think there should be a banner for the canal now - a reply to the railway one that acknowledges its continued life and existence.

But what would the new banner look like, and what would it say exactly? Should the typography and design echo the style of the original, or be inspired by the Shropshire Union Canal livery? I like the SUC script a lot, it is very authoritative, blocky and clear. Or it could be a complete reinvention, a kind of 'Steam Punk' banner. I've also been thinking about where it could be displayed. The flagpole from the Council Offices right in the centre of Newtown is a possibility for a temporary showing. But I'm getting ahead of myself, I'll need to start by coming up with that design....

Shropshire Union Canal signage - Authoritative!

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