Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Waiting for the Bus

I am not sure how many of you will remember the old scroll type destination signs that used to inform of patient commuters of a buss’ destination? Or am I showing my age?

Fabric route signs used on busses in England from the 1920s through to the 1970s are a new decorating buzz. Bus stop locations used to be printed on rolls of calico fabric, and the drivers cranked the rolls to the appropriate stops by hand.

I can remember them on buses in Sydney right through to the early 80s, until electronic destination signs took over.

Now these old rolls are being turned into an amazing array of decorating uses. I am always a big fan of recycling and taking a completely utilitarian item and elevating it too another use including as an art form.

So let these inspire you to look around you to see something which could be put to another use other than what it was intended for.


  1. Great post today....and I remember so well the destinations signs on buses! I guess that means I am getting to be old too, hahahaha.

  2. Using utilitarian items in new ways is one of the best things we can all do...the creative possibilities are endless! Happy Wednesday David!

  3. Re-purposed finds are the best. The older I get, the more difficult I find it to just buy new things for decoration- seems like such a waste!

  4. wow, i love how this has become artwork. i have to admit, i've never seen one of these on a bus ever. :))

    Costin M.

  5. It's interesting, isn't it, how whenever the everyday disappears, we not only feel a pang of loss, but also see it anew as stylish? And I do think these rolls make very stylish statements. The "Sorry, Not In Service" is perfect!

  6. Ahh this is just amazing. I'm fascinated with the sights and sounds of another time... an era before us and where we came from. It is mind-boggling how far we have come in just a short while. I was just thinking the other day how crazy it is that internet was brand new when I was a child -- even computers in homes! ...and now? We can't live without the fastest internet/computers at our fingertips everywhere we go at all times.

    You certainly have left me pondering today! Anyway, I also adore the idea of using the past as forms of new artwork as you have said here. I think these signs are just wonderful!


  7. You make us all feel nostalgic.
    I will love to have one of those fabric signs, but I don't quite remember having seen them. I was probably too young :-)

  8. David, you are my go to guy for all things connected to vintage travel.
    Destination sign design...who knew?

  9. I hate to disappoint all, the fabric signs are sold in England for about $175 a metre! Too expensive, however as I said, look around as there should be inspiration around.

    Belle, you are way too kind!

    Pet, yes stick to that excuse

    Rachel, your comment inspired me to do my latest post! Thanks!

    Mark, I used to hate that sign! Now it is great as a cushion!

    Costin, you are too young!

    Bob, it was fun to see the bus drivers crank them!

  10. by the yard may be expensive, but if you ever find the actual signs for sale, they too are astronomical. I"ve seen them at auction go for several thousands of dollars, esp from place like San Francisco and New York.

  11. First time I've ever seen a London Bus sign, presenting bus destinations for a couple of villages near me on the Hampshire, Dorset county borders - 'Purewell & Somerford' - wonderful!

    Had no idea our quiet part of the world had become enshrined in such a vivid form of contemporary art culture within some of this planets more distant living spaces.

    I'll go Twitter the Vicar then, poste haste...

  12. BBB, please convey my best wishes to the vicar, and let me know what he thinks.


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