Sunday, 25 April 2010

Signposts (3)

Well, I promised an occasional series - so after six months, here's episode three. This fine milestone stands on Kensington Gore, and looks suitably ancient with its pointing fingers and slightly pedantic directions. The date on top, 1911, confirms that it's almost a century old: venerable, but perhaps a little more recent than we might expect.

Milestones have been around since Roman times, and really enjoyed their heyday in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries when they were legally required along turnpikes. As well as giving directions, their marking of distances helped coaches keep to schedule and were also used to calculate postal charges before 1840, when these were based on distance. It was also during this period that cast iron largely replaced stone-carving, often with the iron plates set into older stones.

This late example was erected after responsibility for highways was moved from turnpike trusts to local councils. The councils tended to prefer these triangular, cast iron posts to the stone markers favoured by their predecessors. However, even as a relative youngster the milestone has had to survive various perils, not least the removal or defacing of such signs during the Second World War in order to confuse the enemy in case of invasion.

1 comment:

LostinManc said...

Ooh! Super loveley!!