Words & photos: Mark Stevenson
As milestones go this is one of the more impressive ones I have seen. Considering it dates from 1829, it is accurate even by today’s standards.
It is on Abbey Road at the bottom entrance to Kirkstall Forge. Google Maps tells me that if I used this milepost (I think that is what it is called) as a starting point it would take me 3 hours 43 minutes to get to London if I went down the M1. On modern roads the distance is 199 miles.
In 1829 if you were to repeat the same journey your average speed in a coach and horse would be around 9 miles an hour.
As it is today on modern roads you would have still had to contend with the traffic jams as well as badly built roads. So if you set off on Monday you might have got to London on Friday.
The B&B may stand for Butler and Beecroft who ran the Forge in 1779. Was this milepost erected for the 50th anniversary?
My Dad, who worked at the Forge, took me to see the milepost when I was about eight years old. 76 years ago! And we took our children to see it when they were young. One of them now lives near it. I’m glad it’s still there.
Thank you for this, Mark.
It makes you think. At least, it has made me think. I’m more likely to go down to London, rather than up to Edinburgh. Somehow, Edinburgh seems further away. Perhaps distance is not only geographical, but also cultural and historical.
I’d rather go to Edinburgh, its culture and history are far more interesting! But it doesn’t take as long either, these days.
As you say, though, it does make you think!