AN old sign that once hung outside a Bridport pub is now back in its rightful place – 40 years later.

The hand-painted sign for the Tiger Inn is now displayed on the wall of the Barrack Street pub after a last-minute auction bid.

Landlords Graham and Jacquie Taylor were keen to keep history alive at the inn and bring the tiger back home.

Mr Taylor said the pub was originally owned by JP Groves and Son, who were bought out in the 1960s by the brewery Devenish.

He said: “Devenish put up their livery in all their pubs. But when it was sold as a free house in the 1970s the owners removed everything that bore the company name, including the sign.

“The brewery ceased trading and all of their historical memorabilia was placed in storage and some went to a museum in Brewer’s Quay in Weymouth.

“When this building closed all of the Devenish items were put up for auction.”

A sharp-eyed Tiger Inn regular, who buys and sells on the internet, noticed the sign was up for auction with Duke’s and tipped off Mr and Mrs Taylor.

They knew nothing about the auction, which was taking place that same day, but placed a successful telephone bid.

“Devenish only had the one Tiger Inn so we knew it was definitely this pub,” said Mr Taylor.

“I was prepared to pay up to £250 for it but I got it for £70.

“I felt it was a unique part of this pub and it deserved to be back here.”

The old sign now hangs beside the pub door, while the original 1920s sign is also on display.

Mr Taylor said: “It’s all part of our history. There are too many pubs shutting down and changing names and they lose their history.

“The person who painted it was a local man we think, a Mr R Bown.”

Mr and Mrs Taylor are appealing for information about the sign. Call them on 01308 427543.