It doesn’t seem quite right, somehow, the way they have treated the London Stone.
It sits, shabby and unloved behind a grille at derelict number 111, Canon Street; where even if you squint, it is difficult to see.
It’s also called The Stone of Brutus. As long as the stone is safe, runs an unattributable piece of London legend, so long will London flourish.
It’s a piece of oolitic limestone: no-one brought that to London before Roman times, say planning experts at the City Of London Planning department. Most think it’s a Roman milestone.
Since then London records are peppered with references:old British Kings may have sworn their oaths on it; the first mayor of London, Henry Ailwin, lived close by the stone; it was struck with a sword by by Kentish rebel Jack Cade as part of his claim to be Lord of London; and it appears on the Copperplate Map of London, one of its earliest maps.
But London seems unable to honour the stone which is supposed to guarantee its prosperity.
After the great fire of 1666 Christopher Wren made a casing allowing it to be viewed from the street at St Swithun’s Church in Cannon Street. But come 1742 Londoners grumbled it obstructed traffic and it was moved to the other side of the street. By the close it the century it was back against the church’s south wall. Wartime bombing destroyed the church and it was moved in 1962 to its present location.
Now number 111 is scheduled for demolition, and its current owners Minerva propose moving it to a high-tech display case a few doors down. But red tape is holding up plans for its relocation.
The Museum of London has offered a temporary home, but this has not yet come to anything.
We await Minerva’s next move. And we hope it comes soon.
Many thanks to The Londonist for their article on the London Stone.