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ISS Membership

Membership is open to all those with an interest in inn signs, pub names and local history.

The Inn Sign Society is run by members for their own enjoyment, and we hope that this website may interest you in becoming a member! If so, apply now by using the downloadable membership application form >>>.

Email your application form to Membership Secretary who will reply with the society bank transfer details and your membership number for identifcation with your name.

Annual Subscription Fees
£15 Sterling (UK only) all renewable on 1st Sept each year
Pro Rata fees From 1st December £12  From 1st March £8
From 1st June £5 (plus forthcoming year’s £15 fee) = £20

Rest of the World: £20 Sterling - paid at or to a British bank
(Membership Applications from overseas are only accepted on a full year basis)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the Inn Sign Society?
The Society exists to provide a forum for those interested in the fascinating study of inn signs and pub names. Many such names have links with events from the past plus personalities of national and local importance. If the Inn Sign Society doesn't bother to record them and commit them to our Archives, perhaps no-one else will. See Society Aims
Do you arrange meetings that I can attend?
The West Midlands-based regional group meets quarterly and members travel from as far as Shropshire and Wiltshire to attend the lunchtime get together.
See front page for dates. Contact is via the Membership Secretary.
Where is the Annual General Meeting held?
The AGM is normally held at a different venue around the UK each year.
Details are announced on the website and in the Society Journal.
Do any of your members give talks to local clubs?
Click on the Contact Us page for the list of currently-registered speakers. If no speaker is listed in your area, please contact the Secretary
What do you mean by local distinctiveness?
'Local' implies at the lower end neighbourhood or parish, upper end perhaps villages or towns. 'Distinctiveness' is about particularity. It is evident in the buildings and land shapes, the brooks and birds, trees and cheeses, places of worship and pieces of literature. The ephemeral and invisible are important too: customs, dialects, names, celebrations, recipes, spoken history, myths, legends and symbols.
The humble country inn and its sign are both essential features of local distinctiveness.
How many pubs are there?
There were approximately 46,800 pubs operating in the United Kingdom in 2020. This represented a decrease of approximately 8,600 pubs in the previous ten years, and a decline of over 14,000 pubs since 2000.
The overall number of pubs in England and Wales, including those vacant and being offered to let, was 39,400 at the end of the second quarter of 2023 to 30 June, compared with 39,600 on 31 March 2023.
How many have pub signs?
Impossible to say, but certainly enough to sustain the keen interest of our members.
What is the most common pub name?
There are over 500 pubs named the Red Lion, which makes it the most popular choice.
To read about the origin of some of these, see Pub names
What is the difference between a pub and an inn?
Precious little today. In the past, there were significant differences in legal and licensing classifications. Start reading about the origins - beginning with hospices - on this page, Inn Signs.
There are books written on our interest for you to read and complete your own research.

Membership Forms
Printable Downloads

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Signs of the Month
St. Helens
Lost Signs
Village Inn
Twyning, Glos (B.Goodliffe)
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