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On the stones

On The Stones

Q Can anyone tell me what the phrase “On the Stones” refers to in this Hearses and Mourning Carriages price list?
Size: 127 x 178mm (5 x 7in).

John Hall

A The phrases “on the stones” and “off the stones” mean “within London” and “outside London” and were in use around 1830-80. The phrases refer to the hardness of London streets.

Penguin Dictionary of Historical Slang / Eric Partridge, abridged by Jacqueline Simpson : 1972

Malcolm Shifrin



This regular feature invites answers by email to members’ questions on an item of ephemera.