TWO-hundred year old street signs thought to be the only ones of their kind in the country have been painstakingly restored to their original glory.

Members of the Godmanchester and Huntingdon Civic Society unveiled the four newly-restored signs on the Ethnic Origins shop at the crossroads with the Causeway and Cambridge Street in Godmanchester last week.

It is thought the Ketton stone signs were used to direct stagecoach drivers on their way to and from London and York along the Great North Road in the 1840s, though their exact age is unknown.

It took artisan restorer Matthew Beesley from Bottisham-based company Fairhaven and Woods Limited three years to rescue the crumbling stone-work, and cost the civic society £2,000.

He first had to remove previous mortar fills and replace them with a more flexible weather-resistant mature lime mortar. Even the original paint had to be analysed and replicated to ensure authenticity.

A schedule for each stage of the work had to be signed off by Huntingdonshire District Council's conservation officer Nick Armour.

The unveiling coincides with the start of celebrations marking 800 years since Godmanchester was granted a royal charter. Present for the unveiling was vice-president of the civic society Alison Courtman-Stock.

Barbara Brett, society secretary said: "There certainly aren't any similar signs that I know of, though there are lots of the white finger post signs around.

"Nobody knows the exact date of these signs, but they must have been made just after the building was built."