I do love the quirky finds in London. From the oldest Gents Loos, to Hot Cross Bun traditions and the Great Christmas Pudding Race, you never quite know what to expect around the corners of London. A lot of the time we find the item of interest by accident, but there are a few I seek out simply to wonder at.
London Stone is a block of oolitic limestone and measures approximately 53 x 43 x 30 cm (21 x 17 x 12 inches). Study in the 1960s indicated that the stone is Clipsham Limestone, a good-quality stone from Rutland carried to London for building purposes in both the Roman and medieval periods. The existing London Stone is only the upper portion of a once much larger object, described in the 16th century as “a great stone called London stone”, “pitched upright… fixed in the ground verie deep”. Speculation in the 17th and 18th centuries suggested it was either a milliarium, marking the central spot from which all distances were measured in Roman Britain or an object of Druidic worship, suggestions that are now generally dismissed as lacking any evidence. (Thank you Wikipedia!)
Nestled in amongst traffic lights, an ugly building and ads for nearby businesses is a London’s answer to the Blarney Stone.
As the BBC so pertinently phrases it “The only clouds of mystery billowing around it are the car exhaust fumes from the traffic crawling through the City of London.” Except for those in the know…
Thousands of commuters using Bank or Cannon St tubes wander past it everyday, and I bet they don’t even notice it. Thought it does have it’s own namesake pub a few doors down …. only in London.
It’s encased in a protective case making it hard to photograph, but goodness only knows the wanton destruction that could be caused to it otherwise.
It’s thought to be about 3,000 years old, the best view is definitely from inside the shop.
Ps. for my lovely Oranges & Lemons fans the London Stone lives just around the road from St Martins; and I was finally able to get a decent image of the still standing tower with it’s works completed.