A sight ubiquitous with West End shopping could be scrubbed forever from the streets, if Westminster Council get their way: they are planning on banishing "sandwich boards".
Such walking advertisements have been scattered across London since time immemorial, and for much of their existence performed a valuable service, offering, in the pre-horoscope days, vital globs of millenarian musing: "The end is nigh" and "Repent! Repent! Repent!" being two popular missives.
With rumours of the world's demise greatly exaggerated, the boards became ads for all manner of goods and services, whether it be "Golf Sale", blurbs for closing-down sales at nearby warehouse outlets, or professionally produced, all-weather signs calling attention to fast food outlets. While holding up one of these signs is surely one of the less palatable jobs in London - we can picture a Tony Robinson centuries from now describing with vim and vigour the patently ridiculous task of propping up a wooden pole for hours on end - they have provided countless new arrivals to these shores with a source of income.
Yet according to Westminster Council, they are mere "clutter", and under new legislation the board-men and the company they advertise could face a stiff £2,500 fine for failure to comply. But in our digital age, where advertising is all about how many clicks you get and subliminal suggestions are (probably) being smuggled into our synapses while we sleep, isn't their something harmlessly quaint about the humble sandwich board?
Or are they indeed the bane of modern shopping? Window-browsers, have your say.