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9 May 2016
On Friday 13 May 2016, the legendary London Stone will be installed in its new temporary lodgings at the Museum of London in the popular War, Plague & Fire gallery.
London Stone is on long-term loan to the museum while construction works take place at its former home on Cannon Street, where the stone had been inconspicuously housed behind a metal grille since the 1960s.
A seemingly mundane slab of limestone, London Stone was allegedly brought to London by the reputed founder of Britain, Brutus, and was possibly originally part of a high status Roman building. The saying “So long as the stone of Brutus is safe, so long shall London flourish” has led to the notion that the survival of the city itself is tied to the safety and protection of the stone.
Since the mysterious object was first mentioned in the 12th century, numerous tales of London Stone in folklore, literature and real life events have added to its enigmatic reputation. Three such stories will be explored by the Museum of London while it is on display – its appearance in a Shakespeare play, its survival of the Great Fire of London, and its connection to the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers – although the true origins and significance of the stone may never be discovered.
Roy Stephenson, Head of Archaeological collections at the Museum of London, said:
“Thousands, possibly millions of people have walked past the unassuming London Stone over the years without having any idea it was there or even being aware of its legendary status. It survived the Great Fire of 1666 and the Blitz – two of the most devastating events in London’s history and was even mentioned by Shakespeare in Henry VI. This is why we’re so excited to put the stone on display, explore its geological origins and the various myths that surround it, and introduce it to countless Londoners who never even knew it existed.”
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