The Village Sign and Time Capsule
At the corner of Beckingham Rd, Newark Rd and Brownlow's Hill stands the village sign, next to a seat and small village Millenium Garden. The village sign was designed and painted by a local resident with help from local schoolchildren. It has a time capsule at its base.
Hidden in the trees nearby is the fishpond which is linked to the moat on Balderton Lane. The stream which fed it once flowed into the River Fleet according to an 1806 map, later became a drainage ditch for the fields (1835 map) and passes underneath the main road.
Designing the sign
The story of the village sign begins with Barry King of Main Street who worked as a member of the Architectural staff of the Midlands Division of Scottish & Newcastle Breweries Nottingham and had been asked to redesign the corporate signage for the then takeover of the Home Brewery, Nottingham.
Barry felt that if Coddington had a village sign, it would give it greater identity. He first raised the idea with the Parish council and his design was published in the autumn 1993 edition of CCN (Coddington Community News). The Parish Council was impressed with the design and Barry was put in charge of the project. One of his jost time consuming jobs was applying for, and getting, planning permission. Newark & Sherwood planning office said it was out of their remit and he had to apply to the Ministry of Transport in London. It gave verbal planning permission reasonably quickly, but took a long time to confirm it in writing.
The Parish council involved the local school children in a competition to come up with suggestions for the sign, about 30 children designed posters and 10-year-old Nicholas Greenfield won the competition and was awarded a gift voucher. Nicholas was a member of the 1st Coddington cub pack at the time having started as a Beaver and progressed through to his Duke of Edinburgh awards. He went on to attend the Magdalene and later the Magnus schools. After A levels, he joined the Royal Air Force at the age of 19. He trained as a Propulsion Technician and is currently working on Merlin helicopters at 28 Squadron R.A.F.Benson.
The sign was made and painted by Barry King, which took him over 50 hours. To show their appreciation of Barry King's hard work he was presented with a cut glass crystal tankard, which has the following inscription, "Presented to Barry King for all your hard work on the village sign from Coddington Parish Council with many thanks April 1995".
It was also decided to bury a 'Time Capsule' underneath the village sign.
A false start
The unveiling ceremony was on 10th December 1994 by the Reverend Peter Wright, Paul Dorling (Headmaster), Bernard Allen (Chairman of the Parish Council) and Barry King. The WI provided refreshments in the village hall, where time capsule items were on display. (Mr Dorling retired as the school headmaster that week after 14 years service. His replacement was Mrs Linda Ferrier, former head of the Primary school at Normanton-on-Trent.) The event was featured with a picture in the Newark Advertiser on page 35, 16th December, 1994. However, as planning permission had not been received in writing, the sign was immediately removed. About a fortnight later, when planning permission came through, a team which included Bernard Allen, John Smallwood, John Bartley, Barry King and Hugh Daybell dug the hole to bury the 'Time Capsule' in a square metre of and the sign was erected above it.
The Time Capsule
The Time Capsule
The capsule was a green plastic cylinder, provided by John Collier, who had been a Scout Leader. It contains information from various village groups, such as All Saints Church, Coddington United Charities, the Parish Council, CoddingtonSchool, the Village Hall Committee, CoddingtonWI, Coddington and Barnby Mothers' Union, the village mother and toddler group, Coddington and Beaconfield Playgroups, Coddington Rainbows, Brownies and Scouts. A video of Coddington created by John Smallwood (a Parish Councillor living in the Courtyard, off Drove Lane) was also included - let's hope they have the technology to play it when the capsule is opened.
Revellers wreck villagers' pride and joy
Unfortunately, on the night of 31st January 1999 some hooligans tied a rope to the top of the sign and pulled it down (with a car). The sign was then carried and dumped in the garden of Pat & John Bartley. After this the sign was fitted with metal legs, repainted by Barry King and re-erected in time for the millennium. The Newark Advertiser of 8th January ran the headline "Sad sign of our times" and featured two large pictures, one of the unveiling and one of Mrs Pat Bartley with the vandalised sign. Mr King commented: "It must have taken five people at least to pull it down. I know because it took six of us to put it up."
What the sign shows
The painting on the sign depicts:
- Constance Penswick-Smith receiving a Mothering Sunday card from a young girl and a bunch of flowers from a young boy
- All Saints Church
- The Windmill
- A Lancaster bomber
- A farm tractor
- the Rookery, a fox and a badger.
(For more about the images on the sign and the documents in the time capsule click here.)
Later when Coddington won a prize for best kept village (700 - 2000 category) in September 2003 the prize-winner's sign was erected next to the village sign (in May 2004) for the year
The Parish Council uses the sign as its emblem and Coddington History Group feature it on the front of our village heritage trail and on the introduction page of our book "Views of Coddington". Coddington children may recognise another of Barry King’s signs - the beautiful sign he made for Page's Wood, which appears as one of the quiz pictures on our Heritage Cube.