A historical landmark

The photo above shows one of the listed structures where I live. Care to guess?

Yup, it’s a Grade 2 listed monolithic sandstone mounting block. It’s Victorian, and set into the kerb next to a petrol station. I love the idea that people now refuel their cars where they used to access their horsepower.

I’d been reading about interesting buildings in the neighbourhood, and I must have walked past the block three or four times before realising that this was, indeed, it.  I admit that I was slightly disappointed by it (monolithic in this context, apparently, means made from one piece of stone, rather than large or imposing!).

And then I started thinking about how many people must have got on their horse using this block. Many of these were situated outside churches, and sure enough, there’s one over the road which I now know has been there since 1850 (although to me it’s a playgroup which happens to be a church some of the time).

I’ve been looking for, and have failed so far to find, a Thomas Hardy poem about a worn stone, so this excerpt from his Life will have to do:

‘That floor […] is worn into undulations by the infinite multitudes of feet that have trodden it, and what feet there have been among the rest!’

For some of the people who used that mounting block, the wear on the stone may be the only record that they were ever there. Quite strange to blog about that, and I wonder how long this post, and our footprints on the internet, will last.

The Life of Thomas Hardy, 1840-1928 (Macmillan, London, 1965), p.193.

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