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This listing was originally started in very piecemeal form mainly by Karl Briggs and Edward Zoller, names well-known in the Cyclists’ Touring Club in their day. Their records, being pre-1990 were kept on paper of course, and were supplemented by other sometimes scrappy lists sent in by other people when it was agreed that I would try to co-ordinate and tabulate the lists. This was quite fun to do. Some signs appeared on every list and were obviously well-known. The Smugglers at Alfriston in Sussex is a good example of a well-known sign. Some other signs appeared on many lists but proved apocryphal and no evidence either way could be found for their existence, a good example of wishful thinking.
The combined list was originally compiled on a word processor, sorted, duplicates removed, and the data made available as a computer file to a number of interested people. However the real breakthrough came with the advent of the web and our listing went live in 2001 and the site restructured with my file of photographs a few years later. This of course brought many new sightings, never listed before, and as word spread, confirmations or otherwise of “dodgy” listings. The power of the data available on the internet helped track down many sites too. Some CTC members were particularly active and in particular, Brian Barrett, Shawn Shaw, Roy Spilsbury, and Ann Williams helped with a lot of sightings.
In dealing with some supposed historical information relating to some sightings on the Isle of Wight the realisation dawned that I could “go and look myself” by using Google Earth and Google Street View. This left me with an uneasy feeling that it was time to move on; uneasy as I knew there would be a lot of work involved! Eventually I faced the painstaking task of tabulating all the sites accurately on a Google map. Of course this leads to a great simplification of the data and the site has shrunk from 123 pages to 11. It will destroy my Google listing temporarily however, although it should remove the frustration of seeking for a site only to be rewarded by my own listing coming back at me! In most cases now, you can click of the marker and go to Street View to see the sign for yourself.
I’ve abandoned the idea of using counties and countries too in most cases. Boundaries change and although I’m familiar with the south of England its not too easy to be accurate elsewhere.
Keith Matthews 2014
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This is a link to information about the signs in Bakewell and Matlock Bath
The History of the Winged Wheel Badges
This is a link to information about the signs in Wigan