Great Northern Close canal bridge

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There is a footpath across the canal as a part of the Great Northern Close bridge (off London Road) where the tow path swaps sides.  I have crossed there many times but only recently noticed a series of Roman numerals from I to XII carved into the paving stones.  They span the whole bridge but are not equally spaced.  Any ideas what they indicate?


The other side of the footpath has a series of small iron covers marked 'Gas' and I wondered about those as well.  A bit too close to each other to be isolation points for gas lights.

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Mr Engineer, do you mean in the slabs on the left, looks like there's a V mid picture?,-1.1399968,3a,30y,80.06h,68.83t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sGEfHkhYVL9amiZmJFT2RXw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en


And a III and IIII in this one,-1.1400246,3a,15y,96h,57.41t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1suJU7e3I0k6lxCHjtlDGlvw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en


The numbers may have been stonemasons marks.

I suspect the bridge has been rebuilt in the past and the slabs got moved around, looking at the ramp on London Rd side the quality of stonework changes mid point, ;,-1.1398308,3a,75y,263.57h,97.83t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sE688j3dJ5en2bneKGGryOw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

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With nothing better to do the other day, I had a closer look at the marks. They aren't obvious and I guess many people would never notice them.



One idea I had is that maybe they were transplanted from somewhere else, and numbered to put them back in the same sequence. The numbers run consecutively across the bridge.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you Cliff Ton.  Slight amendment to my original post: I think they only go up to X (not XII).  I agree the most likely reason is for identification when moved/re-bedded.  I do wonder why a mason would use Roman numerals - maybe because it only needs straight lines (easier to carve).

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