Potholes are part of our everyday life. As everyday as the shopping basket though rather more destructive of the wheels of cars, let alone the danger they pose to cyclists. But some potholes are exceptional and have gained celebrity status.
Concerned about the continued destruction of potholes, Shropshire Councillor Andy Boddington, a former archaeologist, is calling for the county’s most distinctive potholes to be protected with a Grade II listing from Historic England. He has also applauded the new tradition of pothole dressing.
Dismissing the councillor’s views, the leader of Shropshire Council has decreed that all long standing potholes in the public highway should fly Union Flags to prevent further damage to the county’s pothole heritage by distracted drivers.
It has been a sad week for the residents of Fishmore Road. One of the county’s most celebrated potholes (image above) was destroyed by highways contractors. The well-loved pothole had been decorated by residents for many months, including with fairy lights last Christmas.
After the pothole was levelled out of existence, Andy Boddington spoke exclusively to Potholes Daily:
“The scene on Fishmore Road reminded me of ancient holy wells. We have had well dressing ceremonies around the country for centuries. Now we have pothole dressing.
“Archaeologists are used to shouting out, ‘I’ve found a posthole’. In future digs, they will be calling, ‘It’s another pothole’. Next century, if not before, learned journals will be filled with academic papers celebrating the 21st century Pothole Culture and discussing the rituals behind their formation and destruction. ”
“As soon as I saw the remarkable example of a pothole on Fishmore Road, I knew it was something special. A pothole for the history books. Regrettably, it has been destroyed like so many treasures from the past.
“Potholes are now part of our culture and some at least must be protected before all are lost. The purpose of protecting historic monuments is not just to provide a place to visit. Monuments are there remind people about the good and bad times in the past. If Historic England agrees to protect potholes, we will have a permanent record of the bumpy days of driving in the early 21st century.”
Asked to comment on the listing proposal, the leader of Shropshire Council said he was unhappy:
“This is nonsense. I doubt any pothole merits preservation. Historic England is allowing us to demolish the iconic Shirehall. Is it really suggesting it now wants to block us from filling a pothole? As a public body, Historic England should be consistent about which holes it protects.
“If potholes are to be listed by Historic England, we will have to live with that. I have already ordered that all the council’s major buildings must fly the Union Jack every day. I am now extending that pledge to all long term potholes across Shropshire. They should all fly the national flag.
“Then at least drivers and cyclists will see potholes coming.”