Sunday, March 18, 2012
A coat of arms
On several occasions on this blog I’ve noticed premises belonging to W H Smith, and looked at the various telling ways at which this company, one of the first multiple retailers, has decorated its shops over the years. I’ve looked at tiles, hanging signs, and even drainpipes. This time, it’s heraldry, and my post is as much a query as an observation.
A while back I passed the branch of Smith’s in the centre of Winchester and admired this coat of arms adorning the corner of the shop. I’m often struck by the ways in which buildings turn corners, and this bit of corner colour naturally caught my eye. But no one could tell me whose coat of arms this is, or was, and why it’s here. I’d love to know the meaning of the three roses, why the supporting lions are standing on the sterns of sailing ships, and why the female figure, presumably Justice with her sword and scales, is included at the top. There was no one around to ask about this on the quiet evening when I passed last year, and I can find no similar arms online. If anyone has the answer, I’d be fascinated to know.
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The answer has come. These appear to be the arms of Southampton. Many thanks to the anonymous commenter who provided the information and link.