Thursday, 28 January 2010

Oxford's High - marred by street clutter

The High in Oxford offers one of the great urban views in England as the street sweeps in a curve past All Souls towards Queen's and Magdalen beyond. A magnificent setpiece, worth cherishing. But clearly someone in the Highways Department was troubled by the nagging thought that something was missing - and added these traffic signs, thus obscuring Hawksmoor's grand front at Queen's behind a rash of bossy notices.

Nannying signs like this weren't needed even in the laissez-faire days of bus deregulation in the 1980s, when the High was full of nose-to-tail buses that nonetheless managed to control themselves. Have those in charge at Oxford Town Hall overdosed on an-aesthetics that numb their visual awareness?

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