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The stones of Spitalfields

September 1, 2009
by the gentle author


History is literally just beneath my feet here in Spitalfields, as I’ve discovered recently while they have been resurfacing our streets. For just a few brief hours after they had scraped off the old surface and before they laid the new tarmac, the beautifully laid granite setts were exposed. I was struck by the fine craftsmanship and it reminded me of the streets of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Apparently, these setts have to be covered in case they damage cars that drive over them, though it occurred to me that leaving them exposed might provide some welcome traffic calming. Now the stones are covered again with a thick layer of tarmac but, as my neighbour said to me, it is nice to know they’re there.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Vicky permalink
    May 15, 2011

    Yes, it’s wonderful to know they’re there. But that doesn’t make it less sad that we can’t see them; the excuse seems very weak.

  2. lululives permalink
    August 26, 2011

    I live on Woodseer Street and sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get a glimpse of the old paving stones through cracks in the tarmac.

  3. Shawdian permalink
    May 15, 2017

    From pavings stones to knickers, marvellous! You get it all at GA. Thought I would go back to some of your first posts of which I think I may have missed, you never cease to surprise. When I was a child I liked the smell of freshly layed tarmack & fascinated by the huge steamroller to flatten out the tar. I get that ‘granite tingle’ when I see them as if the old road itself is trying to tell me its past. Clinking hooves, creaking wooden wheels of all kinds of transport, flowing skirts, barefoot playing children and hobnail boots.

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