Historic Downham Market – one of the oldest places in the Fens. Probably because of its elevated position in the middle of the huge flat expanse of the surrounding fenlands, safe from much of the flooding that has affected this region throughout history.

Norfolk towns and villages take great pride in their signs – for many years a uniquely Norfolk tradition which can now be found all over the country. Downham is no exception to this, only it has to work hard these days to remain visible amongst the distractions of modern life.

Downham’s clock is its centrepiece though, stood at the corner of a busy thoroughfare at the edge of the town square, it’s black and white eight-sided tower has kept the town regular for 133 years. The elongated pyramid to the left is the town pump, more of which, later.

Mr. Scott was a grocer and draper of the town. Why he presented such a grand clock though, I cannot say.

Around the base of the clock are plaques noting a couple of points in it’s history.

As well as proudly displaying a large cast-iron manufacturers mark too.

There were signs of spring in the air when I took these pictures, and I confess to feeling a little optimistic as I was framing the weather vane against the marshmallow clouds

I also noticed that Mr. Scott was not satisfied with presenting an enormous black and white clock tower emblazoned with his name  to the town, but he also saw fit to have his initials cut into the weather vane.

The town pump stands about 15 feet away and is a more modern edifice which stands on the site of the original. On on face it has a stainless steel drinking fountain which is both etched (in Dauphin) and laser cut. Is that blood on there?

The the reverse there is a brass plaque that gives information about the pump, but much of the text was unreadable as it was very tarnished and splattered with unimaginable substances. Surely the town council, after spending money on these public edifices, could put aside a few quid for their maintenance?

The square is bordered on one side by a wall decorated with relief carvings and lettering, again, looking a little worse for wear.

Beautiful lettering though.

So what else typographic is there in Downham? Well, you can’t go wrong with an old-fashioned sweet shop, can you?

And what kind of place would it be without a market?

It’s not all civic monuments and quaint memories though. You should visit the towns Thai restaurant – it exudes the quality that it claims to have.

The Dowhnam Fryer is definitely the place to go…

And to finish this post I present a little bit of Norfolk…

Downham Market
Village Signs

I had a great poke about this little town and took enough images for another post. I’ll bring you back to Downham soon.

 So what’s in your neighbourhood?

I am putting out a request for contributors for the “my type of… place” section of this blog and would like you to put together your own typographic tour. If you are interested, download the contributors information sheet for more details, ideas and specifications here.