Boundary markers

Lewisham Boundary stone in Blackheath
Every time I wander past this little stone, it makes me smile. I like milestones (although, I believe that this is technically a boundary marker, not a milestone). There’s something very Blackheath about it, especially the fact that upon closer inspection, it is not actually from the 1800s, but is an impostor! A replacement furnished by the Blackheath Society, to remind the locals where Lewisham ends and Blackheath begins:

1903

10ft (NORTH) FROM
THIS POINT IS THE
BOUNDARY OF THE
BORO OF LEWISHAM

REPLACED BY THE
BLACKHEATH SOCIETY
1991

I guess the boundary must have moved at some point, as I live south of the marker, but my council tax is paid to Greenwich… It’s all very confusing – I supposed a little string of boundary markers would make it more obvious, but possibly hold up the traffic somewhat…

Anyway, stone masonry is a wonderful thing, and I was doing a little research about typefaces used by masons, when I spotted this explanation of Serif fonts:

Serifs are the extended corners at the ends of a letter and like all good design, they have evolved naturally. They originated in the stone-carved letters of the Ancient Romans. Stone masons discovered that it was technically easier to finish chiseling the ends of a letter in a slow curve. Not only did serifs look more elegant but they were also very practical as they formed a natural channel for water or rain to flow away as it cleaned dust from the corners.

And then, the internet being the internet, was inevitably guided towards something really wacky… It seems that Eric Gill, creator of one of the most used modern typefaces, had rather a shocking life… Nothing to do with Blackheath, except to say that my journey from here to there wouldn’t have happened without the little stone opposite Barclay’s bank.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Boundary markers

  1. On the topic of boundries, there will be a “beating of the bounds” by the Blackheath and Lewisham based Morris Dancers in a few weeks time.

    I understand that it will start at Kingswood Halls, Kingswood Place, off Dacre Park, Lewisham then progress round the parish.

    http://www.freewebs.com/dacre-morris/events.htm

    http://www.blackheathmorris.com/Blackheath_Morris_Men/Diary.html

  2. darryl853

    The boundaries on the heath itself were played with in the mid-90s – keen students of street architecture might be able to spot where, and there’s a boundary stone or two around South Row/Morden Road.

    There’s also a couple of London County Council posts around Lewisham Hill/ Dartmouth Hill/ Eliot Hill way.

  3. Volcane

    Apparently confusing for the greenwich traffic wardens also who routinely venture into Lewisham to fine people who are perfectly legally parked on a Lewisham marked parking bay for not showing a Greenwich disk.

  4. darryl853

    the photo’s a few years old, but this is on Dartmouth Hill: http://www.flickr.com/photos/darryl_se7/50473762/in/set-1095306/

  5. Boundary between the boroughs of Greenwich and Lewisham, actually, not Blackheath and Lewisham. If you check the OS map, it runs along the railway line from the direction of Pond Road, then up through the village down the middle of Lee Road — so the stone indicates the boundary is close by, but isn’t actually on it.
    There’s another, I think, next to the Pond Road railway bridge.
    And an older one on the footpath by Morden College — this indicating the boundaries between three old church parishes, Kidbrooke, Charlton and Blackheath (I think the third is Blackheath — will check next time I go along there).

  6. London Democrat

    I find these things fascinating and I have been trying to figure them out for sometime. There’s also one right opposite the Barclays on the road leading to the post office. I live on Bennett Park (apparently on the Lewisham side of the railroad tracks) yet pay council taxes to, and have rubbish pickup by, Greenwich Council. Yet all the parking meters on the street are Lewisham?

  7. No, London Democrat, Bennett Park’s in Greenwich, as is the Shepherds side of Lee Road and virtually all of the Cator Estate — the bits beyond the railway bridge on the left of Pond Road as you go towards the heath are in Lewisham; everything on the right of Pond Road is in Greenwich, and there’s another boundary marker — also a modern replacement — in the grass on the heath bang opposite the end of Pond Road.

    It probably makes administration of the village complicated — two councils, two sets of councillors, two MPs. But the place has survived well enough like that.

    My son came up with a rule of thumb when he was in year 1 at All Saints’ School (he’s 21 now). A teacher asked everyone whether they lived in Lewisham or Greenwich. They didn’t know. Paul said: “What colour are your wheelie bins? If they’re grey, you’re in Lewisham. If they’re green, you’re in Greenwich.” Still works 14 years later.

  8. I feel another map coming on, with two zones drawn on it, a bit like the parking map…. Will try and get a photo of the other stone too, when I get a chance (possibly on Monday)… This blog always surprises me – I put one little photo up as a post, and it is a springboard to so many other things!

  9. Edith

    Theres a little booklet by Michael Egan about Kidbrooke published — ooh back in the 1980s. Lots, whole chapters, about boundaries. very interesting subject.
    As is Eric Gill

  10. Neil

    The Blackheath Grove boundary stone was replaced because the local authority men working on the carriage way (replacing worn out granite sets for expensive new ones, less than 5 million years old) dumped all their tackle on the original stone and smashed it. Lewisham refused to replace it so those wicked people who ran the Blackheath Society at the time used their members’ subsriptions to replace it. No, they didn’t gather a focus group, or put it to a mass meeting of the paid-up subscribers. They just did it. And the stone was washed in boiled linseed oil as in the past.

    Neil B Rh

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