(overlooking the Green)
From an article in the H.& I. Village Society Archive by Mike Gillespie Sculptor.
The sign became officially part of the village at a ceremony on the 2nd of February 1990. This ended convolutions of planning, design and fabrication which had lasted about three years and convinced all concerned that one village sign was enough for several lifetimes!
It began as a modest project, with a suggested site on the Village Green opposite the Co-Op. A design was produced. Time passed. The deliberations of the Parish Council ground on. The site was moved to the present one, but a street lamp was in the way. Could a light be incorporated in the sign(?!?!). The budget seemed to expand and ambition rather than economy seemed in order – the streetlight had to be five metres from the ground.
With many a ‘halt and hang up’ the sign progressed, a new design and drawings were made, A1 profiling, Swavesey made a superb job of cutting out the shapes in steel, Mike Mason curved bars on a monstrous machine, Ernie Froggat found a great oak post, John Phillips made a foundation of such solidarity that we ran out of ballast, and I cured myself of any wish to be a blacksmith! Eventually the sign was erected with the aid of a tripod originally used for repairing tanks in the desert during the last war. Any resemblance between this and ‘Dad’s Army’ was purely in the eye of the beholder.
The design includes ducks, strawberries, the church, a Percheron horse and Moses Carter the Histon Giant. The first three are fairly obvious, though Chivers Strawberry Jam may already be fading into history. Percheron Horses were first brought to this country from France by J.Stanley Chivers after the first World War. They were of national importance in the dissemination of the breed. Moses Carter lived from 1801 to 1860, was nearly seven feet tall, weighed over 23 stone and was strong as he was big.
Having designed and made it, I now see one or two things I would improve if I could, but it can be truly said to be ‘ by, of and for the village’, and everyone involved can only hope that the village likes it. MFG. 1990