Local vernacular traditions of lettering exist in many countries. In Britain, a form which can be called 'the English letter' was used from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries before being ousted by the officially sanctioned revival of the Trajan Roman in the early twentieth century. The middle line of this example (St Martin's Schools, London WC2) shows the form at its best: even letter widths, strong contrast of thick and thin and muscular serifs. Perfect. It is as though the lines above and below exist only to show how good it is.

(For a fuller description of the English letter see James Mosley, 'English vernacular' in Motif 11, 1963/4, pp.3-55 and Alan Bartram, Lettering in architecture, Lund Humphries 1975, p.5.)