Page last updated at 09:36 GMT, Friday, 10 July 2009 10:36 UK

Theatreland signs to sell on eBay

New Theatreland street sign
Replacing the old signs with new look designs will cost the council 30,000

Thirty classic street signs from Theatreland in London have gone on sale on internet auction site eBay.

Westminster City Council hopes to raise at least £10,000 from the sale of 90 street signs which were designed by Sir Misha Black in 1967.

Signs from along the Strand, Leicester Square and Shaftesbury Avenue are expected to fetch higher than the reserve price of £100.

Replacing these with new design street signs will cost the council £30,000.

'Rare opportunity'

A total of 90 signs, each bearing the classic black strap reading Theatreland with pictures of two traditional Pierrot-type clowns, will be sold in three instalments.

Councillor Alan Bradley, lead member for Theatreland, said: "This is a rare opportunity for people to own a piece of Theatreland history.

"The new signs are part of wider plans to revamp the Theatreland district to help create a sense of drama and excitement in the streets to echo the performances on stage and make going to the theatre more of an occasion."

Aldwych (2)
Cambridge Circus (2)
Charing Cross Road (3)
Coventry Street (3)
Cranbourn Street
Haymarket (3)
Leicester Court
Leicester Place
Leicester Square (2)
St Martin's Lane (3)
Shaftesbury Avenue (5)
Strand (3)
Swiss Court

The council said some of the popular signs, which feature on souvenir T-shirts and postcards, may become collector's items and attract higher bids.

In 2007 the council bought the copyright to the signs created by Sir Misha, which feature black and red letters in a font unique to the borough - a sans serif typeface.

The auctioned signs have been up for more than 10 years.

The new signs have a red strap, replacing the black, with the words Theatreland and an image of a comedy tragedy mask - a classic symbol of the stage.

Money from the sales will be used in refurbishment projects for the area.

By the 2012 Olympics the West End will have a repaved Shaftesbury Avenue in traditional York stone, theatres will get black and white sparkly granite exteriors and traditional lanterns with coloured lights in the columns will also return.

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