London’s Most Boring Object



Amazingly it’s not Simon Cowell but this, and it turns out there’s an expression about it.
‘So long as the stone of Brutus is safe, so long shall London flourish.’
Supposedly it refers to the Trojan origin of London Stone and its mythical significance to the city.
FYI, the London Stone is a block of oolitic limestone set into the wall of No.111 Cannon Street but generally shifted about, and an ancient relic of uncertain history. The present stone is merely a chunk of the original, which was described as a ‘pillar’, set deep into the ground. There is no record of how or when it came to be fragmented or what happened to the rest of it, but the diminution must have happened several centuries ago; a woodcut of c.1700 shows a stone of the same size as it is today. London Stone has been the subject of various legends, including that Brutus brought it here, that it marked the site of Druidic sacrifices, and that London’s prosperity depended on its safekeeping. It was either the point from which the Romans measured distances, an Anglo-Saxon ceremonial stone or a focus for judicial proceedings. Edward III made it the axis of the city’s trade in 1328, when he granted Londoners the right to hold markets within a 7-mile radius of London Stone.
There are loads of other stones in London, including the Roman ampitheatre, the London Wall and that bit of rock by Shad Thames, and of course Dick Whittington’s stone at Archway, now getting on for two centuries old (so a newcomer then). Dick’s cat has lost a bit of an ear, like most cats in London. My friend Jan points out that the actual stone, not the memorial, is a bit further up the hill, but you get the idea.

3 comments on “London’s Most Boring Object”

  1. BangBang!! says:

    I have a day out in London on Monday. I haven’t got anything in particular planned at the minute so I might go take a look – it can’t be THAT boring can it?!!

  2. I.A.M. says:

    So… there’s this blob of rock which could be one of three vaguely important things… none of which really strike me as being important… well, maybe the official ‘measure from here’ part… but there’s only a bit left, and it’s in a bay-window thing down in Vintry… and one should care because…?

    London seemed so fascinating until now… time for a lie-down, I think.

  3. BangBang!! says:

    Well I went to see it in the end and the photo above actually makes it look really exciting compared to the reality! Still I’ve done it now and I never have to do it again. Still, a swift half in the pub of the same name made up for it.

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