There are many websites and blogs discussing the mysterious kerbstone marks that can be seen in various parts of London and in many other towns and cities of England. Some can be explained away as benchmarks indicating Ordinance Survey marks, as Service marks for the Electricity, Gas and Telephone companies, and as Borough boundaries, but others are certainly much more enigmatic. Some of the online blogs have completely ruled out that the symbols are stonemason’s marks, some have suggested they are the result of Victorian road workers having a joke, and some marks certainly seem to have been carved in the kerb after laying. Whatever the reason, they are vividly eccentric and certainly add a touch of Masonic mystery in the Great Queen Street area where the United Grand Lodge of England is situated.
I chose to display here some of the marks on some of the kerbstones around the Bloomsbury and Holborn area, many being spotted in Great Queen Street itself. The marks in this area seem to be dominated by two common styles; a Maltese style cross and a V shape – which could be interpreted as a compass depending on which way you see the mark and if you are a Freemason with an eye for these sort of things. The construction of the kerbs date to the early nineteenth century when the road layout was being constructed, and the marks don’t appear on all kerbs, indeed there may be large gaps in-between the appearance of marks. Some kerbstones feature a number of marks with some looking of a better quality than others, some marks looking decidedly more rough and rugged. All however seem to be weathered which obviously suggests age.
I’ll be posting up more photos as I come across them along with the many theories that I discover as my research progresses.
All photographs taken by Dr David Harrison © 2017