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History Features

You are in: London > History > History Features > Where Is The Centre Of London?

Replica of Eleanor's Cross

Replica of Eleanor's Cross

Where Is The Centre Of London?

Ever wondered where the distance to and from London is measured? Find out here…

Whether it is the distance from Brighton, Manchester or Glasgow, the actual point for measuring the distance to and from London is located at Charing Cross, Westminster.

Why Charing Cross? Even though it is quite central it is not because of its geographical location, the real reason goes back over 700 years to the reign of Edward I.

Replica of Eleanor's Cross

Eleanor's Cross outside Charing Cross

In the year 1290 King Edward was in Scotland on an important trip awaiting the arrival of his wife, Queen Eleanor. On her journey to meet him she was taken ill with a fever and died shortly after at a manor house near Lincoln.

The Queen's body was to be taken from Lincoln to Westminster Abbey for a state burial. The grief stricken King decided that twelve memorial crosses would be installed at each stopping point of her funeral procession.

The twelve sites for memorial crosses were:
Lincoln, Grantham, Stamford, Geddington, Hardingstone, Stony Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, St. Albans, Waltham, Cheapside (West Cheap), Charing Cross.

The original cross was south of Trafalgar Square where the statue of King Charles I now stands. A plaque can be found on the floor behind the statue stating that mileage distances on road signage are still measured from this point.

"...a replica of which stands in front of Charing Cross Station. Mileages from London are measured from the site of the original cross"

City of Westminster Plaque

Only three of the original crosses remain at Geddington, Hardingstone and Waltham. The cross outside Charing Cross Station is a replica made in 1863 of the original that stood at the original site a few hundred metres away. Historians believe the original was not as ornate as the one seen today.  The original memorials were large stone structures towering many feet high with carvings of the queen on each of the sides.

Distances from London;

The site of the original cross

The site of the original cross

  • Manchester 184 miles
  • Liverpool 198 miles
  • Paris 257 miles
  • Glasgow 389 miles
  • Geneva 539 miles
  • Rome 1118 miles
  • Los Angeles 5455 miles
  • Bangkok 5931 miles
  • Sydney 10,500 miles
  • The moon 240,000 miles (approx.)

last updated: 31/07/2008 at 13:46
created: 15/08/2005

You are in: London > History > History Features > Where Is The Centre Of London?

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