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Man to restore 19th century milestone

PUBLISHED: 09:00 11 June 2010 | UPDATED: 09:47 01 August 2010

A FORMER museum trustee living in Brampton has picked up a rare marker in the village's history.

Gary Eves, of Southwold Road, has found an original Brampton road sign from 1822 that he believes to be one of the only ones left in the area.

A FORMER museum trustee living in Brampton has picked up a rare marker in the village's history.

Gary Eves, of Southwold Road, has found an original Brampton road sign from 1822 that he believes to be one of the only ones left in the area.

He believes that the cast iron milestone would have been one of many put along trunk roads in the 1820s, but thinks that most have since been destroyed by traffic, while others that seem to still be in place are replicas of the originals.

Mr Eves plans to restore the battered milestone to its former glory, and put it back on the road.

“It's part of our history and it's got a style about it that's of that era,” he said. “It shouldn't be in a museum and it should be in a safe, open place that the public can enjoy.”

Mr Eves found the milestone propped up against a wall at a farm in the village. The owners of the farm had only just moved there, and did not know where it had come from.

As an ex-trustee of Saxmundham Museum, Mr Eves was keen to make sure that this fascinating piece of heritage did not go to waste. “You're always looking for things that are old and interesting,” he said. “I just couldn't walk past it. I was very excited to come across it, to see it lying there with no home to go to.”

The sign was made by the then well-known Leiston company J Garrett, and Mr Eves said it is one of a series of milestones that were put along all the trunk roads in England in response to people travelling more.

Having contacted the Milestone Society, Mr Eves believes it was one of three that used to be there and one of many along the Beccles road.

The sign records that Great Yarmouth is 19 miles away, Beccles five, and Norwich 23. The right side is missing, leaving just an S and an H, which Mr Eves believes used to say Saxmundham and Halesworth.

Mr Eves is arranging for a Southwold welder to give it a new side, and then will find an artist to write on the missing words.

The milestone will then have to be painted cream, with the letters painted in black. He will fund the whole project himself, but estimates it will cost around £500, so is hoping that someone can help him with funds.

He plans to have the milestone in place at the junction of Southwold Road and Beccles Road within the year, and will plant daffodil bulbs at the site so that it will be surrounded by flowers in the spring.

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