3 February 2023

Impressive slabs of York Stone paving

Last September I wrote about the variety of coal hole cover plates in a specific area of Marylebone and within that I made mention of some very large pieces of York Stone paving in Balcombe Street that I estimated were about the size of a double bed:

I had wondered how on earth these heavy slabs had been transported and installed and, since then, I have I kept my eye open for more of the same. I found a few similar-sized examples in and around churches, specifically in Southwark Cathedral and at Bunhill Fields cemetery where the footpath through the centre is made from large York stone slabs of uniform size, each approx 2m x 1.2m. 

Then, whilst leading a walking tour through Central Avenue in Covent Garden market, shown here in this delightful screen grab from Google Streetview, I was talking to the group about how this avenue was originally built as trading outlets for the merchants here and, as I pointed out the lines on the floor that indicate the curtilage of each store (the line over which goods could not be placed otherwise they'd hinder through traffic) I happened to notice that the paving was again York Stone and that some of the slabs are EEE-normous! 

Indeed, one of the men in my tour group, a builder by profession, was just as impressed as I was and after the tour we returned there to better examine the stones. We discussed the hows and whys of installation in the 1820s when this market building was constructed (opened in May 1830). I haven't actually taken a tape measure to these slabs, but I reckon one of them is approx 3x2 meters in size (a little over 6x9ft) and therefore about twice the size of the ones in Bunhill Fields cemetery. It must weigh, oh I don't know, tons.

Go see for yourself and do get back to me if you have any further info or know about any similar large pieces. 

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Thanks, Jane