Track Down Bromley's Two-Billion-Year-Old Millennium Rocks

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By M@ Last edited 8 months ago
Track Down Bromley's Two-Billion-Year-Old Millennium Rocks
A rock in Crystal Palace Park
A rock in Crystal Palace Park

Can you help us track down all these lumps of rock from the dawn of complex life?

Bromley contains what might be called London's oldest sculpture trail. Strewn throughout the borough are more than a dozen lumps of rock, each thought to be 2 billion years old. That's older than London; older than humans; older than dinosaurs. The London Borough of Bromley has public art that predates multicellular life!

The so-called Millennium Rocks were gifted to the borough in the year 2000 by the Highland Commission, taken from the fishing village of Lochinver in North West Scotland. Each rock is a sample of Lewisian Gneiss, much, much older than the stone upon which Bromley is built.

A Millennium rock outside Beckenham library
A Millennium rock outside Beckenham library

The project was arranged by Bromley's Ravensbourne Geological Society. With the help of National Lottery money, the group also arranged for 50,000 local school children to receive a small chipping of the ancient stone.

"The oldest rock we have near to Bromley is chalk," said a geologist at the time. "A mere youngster at 65 million years old." It's not clear whether Lochinver received any offcuts of Bromley in return.

Bromley millennium rock in penge with discarded rubbish on top
A classy rock in Penge

Bromley's immigrant rocks are, in fact, among the oldest objects anywhere in London — and they're all free to visit. The trouble is, nobody seems to have ever published a list of where the stones lie, nor even how many are out there.

We've had a go at putting a list together based on a bit of desk and foot research.

  • Beckenham Library
  • Betts Park (Anerley)
  • Biggin Hill Memorial Library
  • Bromley Civic Centre
  • Crystal Palace Park (east entrance)
  • Hayes Library
  • High Elms Country Park
  • King's Meadow (north of Bromley)
  • Penge Lane
  • Priory Gardens, Orpington
  • Queens Gardens Bromley
  • Shortlands station
A rock in betts park anerley
Another rock in Betts Park, Anerley

We've found hints of other stones hidden away in other parts of Bromley. The easy route would be to simply ask the council for more information, but it's much more fun to do this the old-fashioned Web2.0 way and crowdsource more info. So... if you know about another chunk of Lewisian Gneiss in Bromley, do get in touch!

Last Updated 21 April 2023