Madam: caution keep of the groynes in BournemouthA maxim to live by if ever I heard one.

And if English isn’t your first language, one that might need a little explaining.

So do bear with me – and my UK chums used to these signs – move along now, nothing for you to titter at here. Go on, about your business.

Now, the rest of you – groynes are a seaside defence set up to protect the sand on beaches from being washed away by the tide.

You see them all along the coast of Britain (and Ireland too for that matter). They’re long wooden structures that stick out into the sea at regular intervals of a few hundred feet so that the dredge of the beach doesn’t utterly remove the sand (that not being very good for seaside tourism).

Madam: Caution keep of the groynes in Hove actuallyWhere I grew up they’d gone all modern and used nasty concrete ones in rather exciting wire frame dodechahedron shapes. Well exciting till they were sunk off shore and covered in sea weed.

But that alone is not what amuses me – as groyne sounds rather like ‘groin’.

And if I must labour this point, that means the sign can also be read as ‘keep of gentlemen’s laps’.

Oh how we titter. Particularly as the British seaside has a long tradition of slightly sleazy humour.

The top sign is from the lovely town of Bournemouth – where I did my post grad studies.

And the one on the pebble beach is from Hove which is right next to Brighton. Some would say they are flow together so much they are the same place… but they would be sharply corrected by the locals.

Anyway, I love these signs and as I’m feeling just a tiny bit in need of the seaside at the moment, I thought I’d share.


This is part of Signage Sunday – have a look at these other signs from the series:

What if the hokey cokey is what it’s all about?

What if the hokey cokey is what it’s all about?

Normal for Norfolk

Or check out all the signs on the complete Signage Sunday page.

Found an ace sign? care to share – go on, slide it into the comments or send it to me in an email. I’d love to feature more signs from readers here…