London Stone

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111 Cannon St, London, United Kingdom

London Stone Reviews

wabat wabat
160 reviews
The London Stone and London’s Survival Feb 10, 2017
I feel it rather fitting that this, my first review on London, is about something upon which the very future of the City is inextricably dependent.

According to legend, the London Stone (or what remains of a larger stone) is part of an altar built by Brutus, the mythical Trojan founder of Albion (Britain) and London. Associated with this legend is the saying:

“So long as the Stone of Brutus is safe, so long will London flourish”.

If this indeed be true one wonders why such a precious relic lies almost abandoned and unloved, hidden behind a grimy metal grate across the road from Cannon Street Station. Reminds me somewhat of Oscar Wilde’s play – The Importance of Being Earnest when Jack was discovered, abandoned, in handbag in locker at Victoria Station.

I first came across the Stone - a block of Clipsham limestone about 21 inches (53cm) wide, 17 inches (43cm) high and 12 inches (30cm) front to back - by chance some years ago and was rather taken by this Brutus story. Consequently, when I couldn’t find it again on a much later trip on an, admittedly quick, walk along Cannon Street I rang the alarm bells on another travel site I was a member of at the time. A member, and friend, of that site answered the call and set forth in search of the Stone, which he found – London was safe!

At the same time as raising the alarm here the travel site I also contacted The Museum of London having heard rumours that the Stone was there while development work was underway in Cannon Street. Somewhat after my friend's reassurance that all was well the Museum informed me that they could not confirm where the Stone was and that I might like to take the matter up with the City of London!

According to the Museum of London the Brutus legend was invented in 1862 and the Stone is most likely a Roman milestone marker and possibly the marker from which all distances from London were measured at the time. There have been many other theories and stories about the Stone and its history (first mention dating back to the 12th century). None of these can be verified, hence the Museum of London’s (and the British Museum’s) lack of more than passing interest in it, though it is a Grade II listed structure.

Running with the more plausible milestone theory, having become somewhat of a traffic hazard on the south side of Cannon Street, in 1742 the London Stone was relocated to a position beside the main door of St Swithin, London Stone Church on the north side of Cannon Street – the former site of the building which still houses the Stone. In 1798 it was set into the wall of the Church. The Church was bombed in the Blitz and had to be demolished in 1962. Thankfully, for London, the stone survived! Recent development work in Cannon Street raised questions as to where the stone was going to be located and displayed – classic British bureaucratic bungling at its best. At least for now, London won and the stone has remained untouched and unmoved. It was hidden behind some scaffolding on my fleeting visit referred to above.

On a subsequent trip, April 2013, I again went to 111 Cannon Street (currently a WHSmith Branch) and verified for myself that the stone is still there.

While tens of thousands of people walk by the Stone everyday, very few Londoners and fewer visitors are aware of the Stone’s existence. Do go and have a look at this lesser known London attraction.
The London Stone
The London Stone
The London Stone
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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planxty says:
I remember that recce well. It ended up in a nearby pub of my acquaintance naturally!
Posted on: Jun 27, 2017
wabat says:
Perhaps you tried to find it when the building work I referred to was going on. Something to try again on your next visit.
Posted on: Feb 10, 2017
davejo says:
I remember searching high and low for this stone a few years ago, and even having been told where it is i never did find it after walking up and down the road 5 or 6 times.
Posted on: Feb 10, 2017
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