In a way, this has been a lost alphabet, although very unexpected when it was first photographed in the late 80s. Beards themselves stopped brewing in 1958 at their Fisher Street brewery in Lewes, and, although they still retained their pubs, neighbouring brewer Harveys (sigh) continued to brew the beers. There appears to be no trace of Beards now, except of course on signs like these. The writing was on the wall when the pubs were sold to Greene King (aka Allied Breweries) in 1998. I came across the superbly painted letters after a summer afternoon rattling up and down the nearby Bluebell Line, but very irresponsibly failed to make a note of where it was. So up until last night it was in the drawer marked 'Unknown', a picture without a map pin. And then I thought of Mr.Dudley, who knows his way around this neck of Sussex. After much searching with dogs and lamps a whistle was finally heard and the quarry cornered. The letters are on the tile-hung wall of The Sloop in Scaynes Hill near Haywards Heath. You can see it here, and wonder, as I do, if our sign is still lurking underneath that smart green board. My thanks to Mr.Dudley, who will receive pints of Harveys once I've renewed my passport.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)