Digswell Village Sign
Briefing Note - 23rd October 2023
Digswell Village Sign update
Discussions have been ongoing for some months on the proposal by DRA to erect a Digswell Village Sign on land close to the junction of Hertford Road and Harmer Green Lane / New Road in order to project a clear identity for Digswell village.
To recap, a financial contribution (£6000) to the production of the sign has been generously promised by Siemens Mobility Ltd who are currently based in the village to undertake re-signalling work on the East Coast Main Line. A presentation has been made by DRA to Welwyn Parish Council Leisure Committee which has endorsed the proposal. The WPC has agreed to seek a licence from WHBC to erect the sign on their land, seek planning permission from WHBC, discuss and agree the proposal with HCC Highways, and erect and maintain the sign as part of the WPC infrastructure portfolio.
The Village Sign People company has been approached by DRA to design and produce the sign. They are very experienced in undertaking such work and have produced many signs throughout the UK, including one for Tewin village. Their designer, Diana Burnard, is an artist who studied at the acclaimed Central St Martins School of Art, in London. Having given the Village Sign People a list of design elements relevant to the village (principally the Grade 2* Digswell Viaduct and the nationally important River Mimram) they produced three sketch designs which, following comments by the DRA Committee, have been amended into two alternative options (see attached drawings).
Option 1  Pierced metal (steel)
A strong image of the Digswell viaduct with the River Mimram and subsidiary design elements of a steam train and a kingfisher, reflecting railway and natural heritage and a bee as a reminder of the more recent heritage of the Digswell beehive works. The 1086 date is a reflection of Digswell Village being recorded in the Domesday Book.
Pierced metal signs are designed so that the eye sees both what is there and what isn’t, forming the image in ones’s mind. The word Digswell and the 1086 date would be legible on both sides of the sign, picked out in white or gold. The sign is made from 4mm steel plate accurately cut by water jet, powder coated with durable enamel paint and baked to create the silhouette image.
The sign is mounted in a wrought iron frame similarly coated and baked. It is mounted on a heavy duty (120mm) chamfered oiled oak post with a 1000mm steel base socket (also coated and baked) for placing in the ground. The sign is very durable and will last many years. The only maintenance required is wiping the oak post with Tung oil once or twice a year.
Option 2  Cast metal (aluminium)
The Digswell viaduct again dominates this alternative cast aluminium sign. The illustration of the viaduct, the tree line and the river Mimram are supported in this sign by a heritage steam train, an artist’s palette reflecting the artistic heritage of the village (Eileen Soper, Ronald Maddox and the Arts Centre) and the bee referring back to the old beehive works. Again, the Domesday Book date of 1086 is referenced. The design elements would be in low relief, treated with epoxy resin primer and hand painted with a high quality, long lasting, sign writer’s enamel paint.
As with the pierced metal option above, the sign is provided with a powder coated wrought iron frame, an oiled oak post and a powder coated steel base socket. Again, the sign is very durable and will last many years. The only maintenance would be to wipe Tung oil on the oak post once or twice a year.
The total height of the sign plus post depends on the post length and whether a plinth is proposed but on average would be approximately 3300mm – 3500mm (10ft 10 ins – 11ft 5 ins). A sketch plan has been prepared showing the main dimensions of the sign as it would appear when installed.
Estimated costs (NB Village Sign People do not charge extra for delivery or charge VAT)
Option 1 – Pierced metal (steel) sign, frame, post and base socket
Approximately £6,150
Option 2 – Cast metal (aluminium) sign, frame, post and base socket
Single sided, simple frame (without wrought iron scroll work) - £5,726
Single sided, standard frame (frame as shown in image) - £5,886
Double sided, same image, simple frame - £6,251
Double sided, same image, standard frame (frame as shown in image) - £6,412
Financial support
At the current time with a contribution of £6,000 from Siemens Mobility, the DRA would need to provide additional financial support of approximately £150- £450 depending on the type of sign commissioned i.e. either the Pierced metal (steel) sign (Option 1) or the Double sided Cast metal (aluminium) sign in a standard frame (Option 2).
This briefing note was endorsed by the DRA at their Committee meeting of 2nd October 2023 and as agreed, the note and amended design options have been supplied to the WPC and Siemens Mobility Ltd so that they are aware of the progress made.
Next steps
The intention is to present the proposal for the sign and the shortlisted options to the DRA AGM on the evening of 14th November 2023. At this meeting, a straw poll of DRA members is proposed to obtain residents’ views on the design options.
The Village Sign People would then be instructed to finalise the design and manufacture the sign and provide the post and fixings. Siemens Mobility Ltd has agreed pay their contribution on receipt of an invoice from the Village Sign People.
The completed sign would be delivered to the WPC for erection following obtaining the necessary consent and licence. A public unveiling ceremony with media presence is anticipated in due course.

Paul Johnson, Digswell Residents Association
23 October 2023

Village Sign Two Village Sign one