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Must he remain nameless?

Doug Gibson and the mystery figure above the doorway of his home in Bank Street, the former Smeed’s Smart Signs Shop
Doug Gibson and the mystery figure above the doorway of his home in Bank Street, the former Smeed’s Smart Signs Shop

Who’s this handsome chap? That’s the question a town centre homeowner is desperate to answer. Doug Gibson has lived at the former Smeed’s Smart Signs shop in Bank Street since 1988, but is at a loss as to who the character is depicted in the archway. He said:

“This house was built in 1840, and obviously the builders put the arch there, but who it is nobody seems to know. I asked the Historical Records Society but they didn’t seem to know and didn’t have much interest in it. I was disappointed by their response. It’s not really a gargoyle, they were medieval and ugly, but this man has a happy face. I have looked on the internet and friends have also tried to research it. We couldn’t find anything. It must have been somebody significant, it can’t just be a face.”

Mr Gibson, who restored the original signmaker’s shop front, also restored the moulded face to its former glory when he bought the property. He suspects it could have been put in place in jest as a caricature of the builder who constructed the building. Or it might have been a recognisable local face. He had been asked during the 1990s to try to preserve the history of former signmaker as part of the historic town centre of Herne Bay. He added:

“We get lots of visitors outside the house looking at it, and looking at him. I sometimes come out to talk to them about the history of the building, and people are always fascinated about it. But I’m not able to tell them who the figure is, so I’d like to find out.”

Herne Bay Gazette, November 27th 2014

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