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2016: A Signs Odyssey

Monoliths have landed in Boston - but unlike those in Arthur C Clarke's Space Odyssey these come to tell of the past and present and not the distant future.

The monoliths are portals to the town's historic past, informing locals and visitors alike about the events which helped shape modern-day Boston.

The large information panels are supported by direction-indicating finger posts which have been given a facelift, helping everyone locate the places of interest detailed. The aim is to raise awareness of the rich stories of Boston to encourage people to explore more and stay longer.

Boston's exceptional historic and heritage offer helped influence the Heritage Lottery Fund to make a grant available for the new direction and information signage.

The council worked with Heritage Lincolnshire (a local heritage charity) and the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce in conducting consultation events to involve a wide contribution to the project.

The six monoliths, placed at the railway station, St Botolph's footbridge, Strait Bargate and three around the Market Place, feature illustrations and each has a new map showing retail areas alongside attractions and recreational areas, orientated to the forward facing position of the observer rather than the traditional north orientation.

Luke Skerritt, Boston Borough Council's principal museum, arts and heritage officer, said this more intuitive format makes it easier for anyone looking at the map to know where to go to next by not having to orientate themselves to match a north-pointing map.

They tell the stories of Boston's former wealth from its wool trade and the importance of its port, its influential ancient and modern markets and fairs, the connection with the Pilgrim Fathers and the exodus to the New World, the world-beating Stump and dependence on its setting in a watery fenland landscape.

All these stories are available on the council's website translated into Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian and Portuguese. Look out for Stories of Boston

Cllr Claire Rylott, Boston Borough Council's portfolio holder for grounds and open spaces, said: "The new signage will deliver the stories of Boston's past to new audiences and direct visitors to places they can visit to bring those stories to life."

Cllr Paul Skinner, the council's town centre portfolio holder, said: "Everyone will benefit if we can give visitors more reasons to spend longer in town, and then, hopefully, spend more money."

Monolith signs Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Cllr Claire Rylott, Boston Borough Council's portfolio holder for grounds and open spaces, points out a place of interest on the new sign near St Botolph's footbridge. Also pictured, from left, Steve Lumb, the council's head of built environment and development,. Cllr Paul Skinner, portfolio holder for the town centre, and Luke Skerritt.