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21 August 2023

The London A-Z Directory of Old Wood Block Surfaces

As I mentioned on my @janeslondon Instagram feed recently, there turns out to be many more remnants of wood block surfaces than I'd expected when I first wrote about them in April 2021

What I thought would be a handful of examples here and there turns out to be more than thirty and counting (Aug 2023) as, when you get your eye in and start looking in the right places, you'll see more and more, similar to finding little pink shells on a beach.

I have therefore compiled this A-Z listing all the places I have discovered woodblocks thus far. I will be adding to this directory as and when I find more.

The listings in bold italics with links are those I have already written about inc photos. All others, except those in brackets, I have photographed but they are currently lurking in a 'To Do' folder for future blog posts. 

Please do let me know if you find any more – add a comment below or send me an email:


Wood Blocks in London – A-Z by street name or location

Belvedere Rd, LCC offices, County Hall, SE1 – rectangular blocks in the street outside the main entrance 
169 Bermondsey High Street – elliptical manhole cover in side alley 
Bermondsey Leather Market, 11-13 Weston Street, SE1 – manhole cover within cobbled entrance 
Brentford High Street set within the pavement 
Brixton Village MarketColdharbour Lane, SW9 – manhole cover within access 
221 Chalk Farm Rd, Camden NW1 (corner Inverness St) – manhole cover in pavement 
259 Chalk Farm Rd, Camden NW1 (opp Buck's Head) – manhole cover in pavement  
285 Chalk Farm Rd, Camden NW1 (south of canal) – manhole cover in pavement 
Chalk Farm Rd, Camden Lock, NW1, 217 Place (north of canal) – manhole cover 
Chequer St, Bunhill Row – large repaved area of rectangular blocks
64 Clerkenwell Rd, Leo Yard, EC1N – square blocks within rectangular manhole 
83 Clerkenwell Rd, near Hatton Garden – manhole cover in the pavement 
Colliers Wood - new/modern square blocks at various locations 
Crooked Billet Yard, Hoxton, under the railway bridge – manhole cover 
Farringdon Street - exact location tbc 
243 Gray’s Inn Rd / Acton Street – manhole cover in the middle of the road 
Hampstead Village, Windmill Hill, Upper Terrace, NW3 – manhole cover 
Hampstead Village, 14 Willow Cottages, Windmill Hill, NW3 – manhole cover 
326 Holloway Rd, N7 – manhole cover in the centre of the road 
405 Holloway Rd, N7 –  manhole cover near the central reservation   
335 Islington High St – manhole cover in the pavement outside Pizza Express  
90 Islington High St – manhole cover behind the electricity/tram station 
111 Kentish Town Rd – manhole cover opposite the old hat factory 
315 Kentish Town Rd, – manhole cover by the crossing 
(King Street, Twickenham – more info needed) 
Kingsway Tunnel, Holborn – oblong woodblock surface 
Mora Street / Nelson Passage, EC1 – manhole cover 
New North RdRoyal Mail depot, N1 (Eagle Wharf Rd)  – manhole cover within access 
130 Old St, EC1N – manhole cover in the bus lane 
90-92 Pentonville Rd, N1 – large private forecourt, patches visible 
Southwark StRedcross Way – manhole cover 
St James’s Place, W1 – rectangular manhole cover near the Stafford Hotel
St James’s St - utility cover at the northern/Piccadilly end 
292 St John Street / Spencer Street – manhole in the road
377 St John Street – manhole near kerb, near junction with Rosebery Ave 
38 Shepherdess Walk / Underwood Row – manhole cover 
44-48 Shepherdess WalkMicawber St – manhole cover 
104 Shepherdess Walk / Shaftesbury Street (pillar box) – manhole cover 
Sumatra Rd / 229 West Hampstead (rear of Oddbins) – manhole cover 
Thurland Road junction with Spa Road - two in the road 
West Square, Lambeth, SE11 – manhole covers, at least two 

Outside Greater London
Waltham Abbey – man hole cover in the road near the church 
Whitstable castle – large paved area within the covered entrance

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