Post by Marland Post by Roland Perry Post by Basil Jet Post by Marland Post by Roland Perry Post by Marland
It was London Transport which recalculated its route measurements to
Kilometres back in 1972 .
Ironically they chose Ongar as the 0 datum
I think they chose Ongar because it was the furthest east.
Post by Marland
which means their measurements start on a line that was closed and is
now no longer theirs
It's not the only disappeared datum. Road miles from London were
measured from the Post Office near St Pauls (the tube station used to be
called "Post Office") because postage was originally calculated by the
Hmm, I always thought it was where the original Charing Cross was located.
I could see the Post Office might have used its own datum for
postage from its own main London premises for its own purposes but
the Post Office premises you mention were not constructed until the
early 19th Century and many milestones would have been put in place
before that by the Turnpike Trusts who were required to do so.
The date of the building on that site today isn't relevant. Some say the
datum is actually a little further north, at the site now occupied by
Mount Pleasant sorting office; but that doesn't change the basic
Post by Basil Jet Post by Marland
Perhaps someone else can adjudicate.
The wording on this plaque seems pretty definitive
Unfortunately, the plaque doesn't say 'Measured by... whom".
And the elephant in the room is that Charing Cross was the *penultimate*
stop on the trip in question ("a little village near Westminster" in
longer versions of the story), the final destination being Westminster.
If there had been a "final" cross at Westminster (and many people think
Big Ben is where distances are measured from) then it would be far more
Quite a few people say that the Charing Cross (or Trafalgar Square in
fact) was chosen as a datum by the AA, as more central of a place in
London bearing in mind how it had developed by the time they started
publishing their own maps.
So the real answer is that nobody seems to know which one it should be and
one claim is no better or worse than the other.
You are making the assumption that one or other is "correct" and the
other must therefore be "wrong".
And "people" do *know* things, like the Eleanor Cross was the
penultimate not final destination (and a village outside London, not
remotely the centre of London), and that the structure some distance
away outside Charing Cross station is a replica.
We also know that the General Post Office (which had a need to
understand distances) predates the majority of Turnpike Trusts by a
And that the Romans (but only the Romans) used a stone near what's now
Cannon St station, and that the nearby Monument is a red herring.
Major "A" roads out of London converge towards St Paul's (even if some
have been de-trunked in recent times), not Trafalgar Square.
We also know that no-one has been able to find any records explaining
what traditional mappers regarded as the datum - some observers saying
that it was because "everyone knew", so no-one wrote it down.
But the consensus is that the AA *did* chose to consolidate on Trafalgar
Square (having previously used a bunch of gateway locations such as
Marble Arch), and hence I suggest the current meme arises from that.