One of the first major projects for the Society was a comprehensive survey of all the surviving milestones in the country. We now have a recent, systematic record of almost all the visible milestones in Britain.
This survey data provides an invaluable source for individual members to follow the Society's aims of preserving, protecting and studying the history of these roadside features. It is also provides Local Authorities with an up to date record of markers in their care.
Key information is available in our on-line "Repository", in both GoogleEarth mapping and also Excel spreadsheet formats, where you can see information about individual milestones and any photo links.
You will also find forms where you can add a photograph, add details of another milepost or amend the information held.
The Society has been bequeathed several large collections of historic photographs from as early as the 1930s. The Ken Diamond archive provides a collection of unique illustrations to guide restoration work as well as being a reminder of the quieter roadsides of times past.
The members of the Society have also collected records of other roadside features, including tollhouses, boundary markers, fingerposts and AA signs, as well as canal mileposts; the records of these are stored in separate Excel spreadsheets.
Recording milestones for the Database
Many milestones have been lost or have disappeared into hedges, banks or gardens. A first step is to search records and roadsides to survey and document fully those that still survive – and where. The Society’s national database incorporates information from other archives alongside recent surveys by our members.
This record not only captures the vital information on position and inscription but also secondary material on the condition of the stone, any individual history and historic records and old photographs. The paper records are collated into an Excel spreadsheet database that can be searched to find individual stones, to group together milestone information for a particular road or link it to a specific authority.
CDs containing pictorial and survey records are being produced for each area and some are published openly on the Web; see the links page.
Contact Alan Rosevear, the Society’s database manager, if you know of a milestone that is lost, concealed or out of place, or if you want background on a local marker.
Missing milestones, vandalism and theft
A major concern of the Society is the loss of our milestone heritage through deliberate theft, which in view of the massive weight of stones or posts most often involves the plates recording mileages attached to the stones. Milemarkers in place are the property of the authority responsible for the upkeep of the road and unauthorised removal of any part of them therefore constitutes a crime. One aim of this website is to alert members to such losses, and therefore help identify stolen material which may appear at car-boot sales, antique fairs, private properties, etc and even advertised on commercially-based websites. The fact that reliable records with photographs are now being made and an inventory of the nation's milestones collected and recorded on searchable computer databases should deter future losses, since identification and proof of provenance will be a straightforward matter.
Members who are aware of theft of a milestone or milepost are urged to report the theft to the police and, importantly, to get a crime number. Also, it is useful to report it to Salvo, where a register of such stolen items is advertised - please contact Rob Caldicott, the Society's theft co-ordinator.