Above: The stone on display once more beside Cannon Street, within the new stonework.
London Stone may have stood in almost the same place for about 2,000 years. All sorts of theories exist about what was special about the stone and whether it all started with the Romans but there are really no firm facts. One thing we do know for certain is that its site is shown on the Copper Engraving as being in the centre of Cannon Street. The map was produced about 1550. The same visual information can also be seen on the Agas map of c1561. In 1742, being an obstacle to traffic and probably suffering damage from being hit by a cart from time to time, it was moved to the north side of the street. In 1869 the stone was set into the wall of St Swithin’s church which stood nearby on the north side of Cannon Street. Ornamental bars were added around the opening to protect the stone from further damage.
During the Second World War, St Swithin’s church was bombed and the ruins were later removed. After the War, the famous stone was moved a short distance east, to 111 Cannon Street, and set into the wall of a 1960s office building that was for a time used by the Bank of China. The stone was beside the pavement, protected with a glass panel and ornamental bars. By 2016 there were plans to demolish the 1960s office building and replace it with a new one. The stone was removed to the Museum of London for safekeeping while the construction work took place. During the time that the London Stone was at the museum, conservators carefully cleaned it before placing it on display for visitors.
Above: Workers in the City pausing to admire the new London Stone display.
One or two crazy ideas to have the stone on permanent exhibition within the confines of new offices in Cannon Street were proposed. Fortunately, they came to nothing and on 4 October 2018 the new stone housing was unveiled, along with the newly mounted London Stone in the new office block which had been designed by Fletcher Priest Architects.
See also: London Stone – SHOW_THE_ARTICLE