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Mystery sign on village shop sparks comparisons to Banksy

PUBLISHED: 12:23 04 July 2019 | UPDATED: 12:40 04 July 2019

The sign which appeared on the wall of the Pharmacy, Burnham Market, which has closed after being in business for almost 200 years. Picture: Supplied

The sign which appeared on the wall of the Pharmacy, Burnham Market, which has closed after being in business for almost 200 years. Picture: Supplied

Archant

A mysterious sign which appeared on the wall of one of Norfolk's oldest village shops has sparked comparisons to the works of the enigmatic street artist Banksy.

Burnham Market Pharmacy has closed its doors for the final time. Pictured is Sam Gibbs, one the children of owners Brian and Sue Symonds (fourth from the left) with family and colleagues. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOPBurnham Market Pharmacy has closed its doors for the final time. Pictured is Sam Gibbs, one the children of owners Brian and Sue Symonds (fourth from the left) with family and colleagues. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

The circular sign, which looks like a blue plaque installed by English Heritage, appeared on the wall of The Pharmacy in Burnham Market on the north Norfolk coast earlier this week.

The Pharmacy, on Market Place, had been trading for nearly two centuries after opening in the early 1800s. But following the owners' death, the family took the heartbreaking decision to shut for good at the end of June.

The sign comments on the fate of the shop, and, under the words English Heritage around its upper rim, reads: "The Pharmacy 1830 - 2019 Burnham Market A dying village, poisoned by wealth. Finally dispensed with. RIP".

Simon Finch, owner of Voewood Rare Books in High Kelling, used social media to share a photo of the sign he was sent and said he was astounded by the reaction that it got.

Burnham Market Pharmacy has closed its doors for the final time. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP Burnham Market Pharmacy has closed its doors for the final time. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Mr Finch said the message about the social decay the sign conveyed reminded him of artworks by Banksy, the world-famous street artist who keeps his identity hidden.

He said: "It raises some interesting points and is the work of an artist in the Banksy mould of social comment.

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"It has created a lot of debate."

English Heritage confirmed they had not put up the sign.

The shop was known to locals for its role in a dark moment in the village's history - the Burnham Market murders.

The chemist is believed to be the shop that Frances Billing and Katherine Frary bought poison from to lure their victims to their deaths back in the 1830s.

The pair killed three people before being found guilty of multiple murder and sentenced to death at Norwich Castle, where 20,000 turned out to see them hang.

Married couple Brian and Sue Symonds took over the running of the Pharmacy in September 1985 after moving to the coastal village from London, where they had previously run another pharmacy.

Now, despite retained its olde-worlde charm, the owners' children were forced to sell up shop following their deaths.

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