Signs and notice boards for St James, Piccadilly by Greenbarnes

Top: The school's new identity is clearly stated in all signage. Bottom: The long and once indistinct route from main entrance to reception is now clearly signed throughout.

So often the signage of a school is a cocktail of mismatched and ill-considered elements – the product of years of piecemeal additions. An important opportunity to convey a cohesive message and a sense of school values to visitors is lost. Recognising this, Peter Wain, recently appointed Head Teacher of Portfields Primary School in Newport Pagnell, set about rectifying the problem and in so doing, involved children, parents, staff and suppliers in a collaborative project to give the school a strong and clearly expressed identity.

The Problem:

Opened in April 1976 as Portfields Combined School, the site had been the subject to constant development, not least due to its proximity to the rapidly expanding new city of Milton Keynes. As is frequently the case, the school buildings had seen considerable organic growth over the years, in order to accommodate an evolving pattern of usage. One consequence of this was that the clarity of the original layout and pedestrian flows of the site had been lost. This manifested itself not only in the lack of a clearly defined route from the main gate to reception (confusing and off-putting to visitors) but also multiple entrances which, given the continuing emphasis on school security and safeguarding of young children, were now proving impractical.
In parallel to this lack of physical clarity, the unified nature of the original signage and indeed, more widely, the school’s graphic identity used in day to day communications with parents and the outside world, had also lost focus.

The Solution:

In setting out to find a solution, it was clear that, for any scheme to have a lasting impact, the process needed to be inclusive and achieve a feeling of ownership amongst the wider school community. Accordingly pupils were invited to submit their own designs for a new school logo.
Although in the minds of many, Newport Pagnell will forever be linked with the eponymous service station, this Buckinghamshire market town has a long history. For many years it was the home of the sports car manufacturer Aston Martin whilst Tickford Bridge, which was built in 1810 and spans the River Ouse, is cited as the oldest iron bridge still in constant use.

“Children were asked to think of things that made Newport a special place to live. Some thought of cars, some trees, some the names of poets on the housing estate, some buildings” said the Head Teacher. .

In the end It was Tickford Bridge which provided the source of inspiration for the winning design by year 4 student Scarlett Smith.
At this point good fortune smiled on the project in the form of parent and willing collaborator, Roze Sherwood of graphic designers Travisbead Ltd. Taking Scarlett’s original design as a basis, Roze developed the new logo into a profession branding scheme to be applied not only across the whole school site, but also on its website and all communications.

Having worked with them on signage and notice board projects at two of his previous schools, Peter Wain had no hesitation in approaching Greenbarnes Ltd to assist in providing the final piece of the jigsaw as far as the signage was concerned. A site survey was undertaken to establish the school’s requirements and a proposal was put together based on these findings using the new corporate identity.

A key requirement, identified at an early stage was that any signage should not only appear cohesive but should also exude an air of quality over and above that of the purely utilitarian signs which adorn so many schools. For this reason aluminium sign “trays” have been used throughout rather than cheaper but more workaday flat-plate alternatives.

For ease of maintenance, the material chosen was powder-coated aluminium and, in many instances, this was combined with digital print in order to faithfully reproduce the colours required by the new scheme. To emphasise the new logo to best effect, the main sign incorporates a fret-cut version mounted on stand-offs to achieve a 3d effect reminiscent of the cast iron frames of Tickford Bridge itself.

One of the major challenges in designing a suitable scheme was that of guiding those unfamiliar with the school’s layout from the main gate to reception which, due to the evolution of the site is a journey of some 90 metres with no direct line of sight.
Previously, having been granted access via the intercom system, immediately upon passage through the main gate, a visitor’s path was impeded by railings and a low earth bank forcing them to turn left. Thereafter the trail went cold. There were several possible doors, but all to classrooms rather than reception and no signs to indicate the correct direction. Now, visitors are met by a Parent’s notice board, strategically placed to catch the attention of those waiting at the school gate and clear signage guiding the user along every step of the way to reception. A combination of methods including wall-mounted signs, finger posts and a trail of painted footprints is used.

Whilst undertaking the project, the opportunity has also been taken to further improve the dissemination of information by the inclusion of an external notice board for the use of each year group Positioned at the class entrance doors and finished in the same dark blue as the signage, these provide space for teachers to keep the school community posted and what’s happening in their year.


Poor signage within our schools is more common than we would like to think and perhaps, given the piecemeal nature their development, this isn’t too surprising. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Portfields Primary School has demonstrated that, given a clear vision, a well executed plan and the right people involved, it is possible to produce a scheme which will not only deliver coherent signage now, but will also be capable of growth and adaption to meet future requirements.

Category : Aluminium | School notice boards | Signage | Signs
Pictured are Jean Smith, (centre) together with her son Guy who researched the Show Presidents as well as writing a History of the Club which was published alongside the boards production, his wife Julia and their daughter Emelia.

Pictured are Jean Smith, (centre) together with her son Guy who researched the Show Presidents as well as writing a History of the Club which was published alongside the boards production, his wife Julia and their daughter Emelia.

This year was an important one for the Tendring Hundred Farmers Club being their Centenary Show.

To mark the event the club considered it appropriate to commission an Honours Board commemorating the Presidents of all 100 Shows as well as outlining a little of its history, as the Show initially travelled around the area.

The Honours Board, manufactured by Greenbarnes was presented to The Club at the 100th Show by Mrs Jean Smith who kindly sponsored the board in memory of her husband Andrew who himself was a former Show President, Chairman and stalwart of the Club.

The board will be on display each year in the Art Tent at the Tendring Show and will be updated as the Show looks towards its next 100 years.

Category : Honours Boards | Special Projects
Contemporary style A-Multi 2-bay aluminium notice board

Contemporary style A-Multi 2-bay aluminium notice board

A recent addition to the ever-expanding range of aluminium notice boards offered by Greenbarnes is the A-Multi range, designed specifically to meet the growing need for 2 and 3-bay notice boards which are both stylish and robust but which, at the same time are in keeping with the budget-conscious spirit of the moment.

“Tough times over the last few years have seen many would-be clients put off investment in new infrastructure such as notice boards, but a recent surge in orders suggests that many are now reaching the point where this can be deferred no longer”, says Director, Mike Barnes. “These are precisely the clients for whom the A-Multi range is designed”.

Choices offered by the A-Multi suite include standard (AF30) and heavy-duty (A-MaxS) boards, “contemporary” or “decorative” aesthetics, the former with plain posts and straight header and the later enjoying decorative posts and bow-pattern headers, and single and double-sided versions. Combine these variables with A2, A1 and 6 x A4 bay sizes and a range of powder-coated finishes and you begin to appreciate that A-Multi truly offers something for everybody.

For further information on A-Multi boards, please click here, call us on 01280 701093, or email our Sales team here.

Category : Aluminium | Notice Board
Book of Remembrance cabinet for Rainsbrook Crematorium, Rugby

Book of Remembrance cabinet for Rainsbrook Crematorium, Rugby

Greenbarnes Ltd are honoured to have been chosen to design and supply the Book of Remembrance cabinet for the new-build Rainsbrook Crematorium in Rugby, Warwickshire.

The building, which is the result of collaboration between Rugby Borough Council and Daventry District Council, is currently in an advanced stage of construction. Scheduled to open on April 2nd, it will serve an area including not only the towns Rugby and Daventry themselves but also a wide rural area of the south midlands currently poorly served by existing facilities.

As is befitting of its purpose, the design and finish of Rainsbrook Crematorium are of a very high standard with Registrar Lisa Handy paying particular attention to detail of fittings throughout.
The cabinet supplied is designed to display two volumes of the Book of Remembrance and has been built in clear-lacquered oak with lids supported when open on gas stays.

For further information on Greenbarnes cabinet-making services please click here, call us on 01280 701093, or email our Sales team sales@greenbarnes.co.uk.

Category : Display Case
V-200 wall-mounted V-cases at CAST, Doncaster

V-200 wall-mounted V-cases at CAST, Doncaster

Greenbarnes ltd is pleased to announce the launch of V-Cases, a complete suite of superbly engineered contemporary poster cases and notice boards, all featuring clean aesthetics and the highest standards of engineering.
All V-Case products feature aluminium construction, flush safety glass front panels with a printed ceramic border masking the inner mechanism, and standard or optional LED lighting.
V-Cases are currently available in 3 versions, AV-100, a freestanding monolith version (single or double-sided), AV-200, a 73mm deep wall-mounted poster case and AV-400, a smaller 48mm wall-mounted version.
Each version is available in a range of standard sizes or can be manufactured in bespoke sizes to order.
For further information including product data sheets click here, call us on 01280 701093, or email our Sales team sales@greenbarnes.co.uk.

Category : Display Case | Poster Case
Helmdon Parish Council notice boards, new and old

Helmdon Parish Council notice boards, new and old

On the face of it, the image (right) looks like the kind of unremarkable scene that can be witnessed in communities up and down the land. However, dig a little deeper and an interesting snippet of history is revealed.

The board on the right is one of 3 boards recently supplied by Greenbarnes Ltd to Helmdon Parish Council, Northamptonshire. In itself there is nothing remarkable in that; Greenbarnes Ltd has been supplying local authorities throughout the UK with similar boards for many years. The board on the left however is the first ever Greenbarnes notice board, made in 1990 as a prototype, subsequently donated to the local Parish Council and still going strong 23 years later!

In fact, it was a chance remark about the poor state of the village notice boards overheard by Mike Barnes whilst attending a local Parish Council meeting all those years ago, that first suggested the idea of turning the humble village notice board, previously made on demand by the local carpenter, into a properly considered and detailed product. The rest, as they say, is history!

Nor is the Helmdon board untypical in its longevity. A recent enquiry received from a church in Surrey for a replacement hinge for one of our boards, lead back to Job no 17. To put this in context current job numbers are in the region of 12500. And yes, we still had the details on file and were able to supply the necessary hinge!

Category : Hardwood | Hardwood notice boards | installation | Notice Board
Signs and notice boards for St James, Piccadilly by Greenbarnes

New signs and notice boards for St James Church, Piccadilly. Top: Bespoke oak-framed aluminium sign. Bottom: Railing-mounted A-Max notice boards.

Of the thousands of pedestrians who use London’s Piccadilly daily, a fair proportion are no doubt aware of the existence of St James Church, one of over 50 churches rebuilt by Christopher Wren following the Great Fire. However, ask how many are aware of the busy parish life which goes on within the church confines and the proportion shrinks.

In many respects St James, with its churchyard markets, coffee shop and garden is far more obviously active than the majority of city churches, but it was in order to assist in the constant challenge of “getting the message across” that the church turned to Greenbarnes Ltd

Extensive boundaries on both Piccadilly and Jermyn Street, together with high levels of passing traffic, (both pedestrian and vehicular), presented no shortage of opportunity. However, the existing signs and notice boards were reaching the end of their economic life and were deemed too inflexible in layout for current purposes.

Following discussions with Greenbarnes, the solution chosen by Site Manager Finna Ayres was a mixture of glazed display cases from the A-Max range to accommodate the information which changes frequently and bespoke oak-framed sign panels for permanent signage.

The 8 large A-Max boards are railing-mounted along both frontages and provide secure and flexible display space for posters and notices advertising the wealth of activities to be found within. These boards are all ventilated to counter the possibility of condensation, have doors which rise and are supported on gas stays to facilitate the updating of content, and feature concealed locks.

Permanent signs are of bespoke design to echo that of their predecessors, but have oak-framed aluminium panels with computer-cut vinyl lettering ensuring that the inevitable minor alterations, such as the change of an email address, which invariably prove necessary over time, can be accommodated without major effort or expense.

If you feel that Greenbarnes might be able to assist in “getting your message across”, please call us on 01280 701093, or email our Sales team sales@greenbarnes.co.uk . We will be pleased to discuss your requirements and, where appropriate, to provide a no-obligation quotation.

Category : Signage
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I would like to thank you very much for the hymn boards and accessories recently received from you. We are delighted with the high quality workmanship and appearance, and they are now installed in our Wheatley United Reform Church, where they look great, and match the new church furniture very well.
- David Herring, Organist, Wheatley URC