A 103-year-old watercolour painting of a proposed sign for "Canny Yatton" has gone on public display.

The watercolour, by celebrated Newcastle engineer and amateur artist Waynman Dixon, has been in Canada for many years but has returned home, and can now be seen at Great Ayton Discovery Centre on the High Street.

Its display is part of a photographic exhibition tracing the past of Park Square, Great Ayton produced by the local history society to coincide with Local History Month.

The painting is something of a mystery. Whether the sign was really proposed by the village, or was just imagined by Waynman, is not known. Certainly, it was never discussed by the parish council. Some years later, a conventional road sign with a gas lamp was put up where Waynman envisaged his marker post.

The watercolour has been half-way around the world. For many years it hung in Great Ayton’s The Buck Hotel, then owned by Robert and Betty Langford. When they sold up, they took the painting with them.

After their deaths, the painting passed to Betty’s younger sister, Sheila Ledger, who lived in Canada. Sheila later gave the painting to her friend, Susan English, who last year decided to return it to its original home, via the Great Ayton History Society.

Waynman Dixon is best known for designing the vessel which carried Cleopatra’s Needle from Egypt to London in 1877. After retiring to Great Ayton he took an active part in local affairs, organising the war memorial after the First World War and opening the Great Ayton and District Unionist Club (now the Conservative Club) in 1910.

Waynman died in 1930 and is buried, along with his wife Elfleda, in the Great Ayton’s Guisborough Road Cemetery.