10 Oct 2012

RIP: Midford Fox

Early 1900s photo of family and car outside tavern called The Fox
Photo: Akeman Press Archive

This photo from the early 1900s comes from the Akeman Press Archive and shows a family posing with their car outside this former tavern in Midford, Somerset. Kirsten Elliott from Akeman informs me that the last remains of the sign have now been rendered and painted over, making this a recent addition to the growing list of ghostsigns ‘RIPs’. I love the language above the door, “Skittle Saloon”, and behind the car, “Foreign Wines”, phrases that you’d never hear these days, over a century later.

This photo features in the book, ‘Somerset Pubs’, with the following caption to give some historical context:

Over on the other side of Bath, members of the Harbutt family from Bathampton (of plasticine fame) pose for a group portrait outside the Fox at Midford, between Hinton Charterhouse and Bath. In the early days of motoring, only the upper-middle classes could afford a vehicle like this. Even so, breakdowns were common, which probably explains why they brought the horse-drawn carriage along as well. How could they have foreseen that a century later there would be a constant stream of traffic past this former inn, with no need of horses in case of breakdowns, and that any attempt to recreate this scene today would risk at best a stream of irate drivers, at worst serious injury? The Fox closed over 60 years ago, but traces of the advertising roundel partially obscured by the car can still be seen today.

Sadly the roundel and all other elements of signage from this picture are no more but luckily we have this archive photo to remind us of what once was. Thanks again to Kirsten and Akeman for sharing.

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