In London, old Parish Boundary markers are everywhere. In Regent’s Park & Primrose Hill they were mainly placed to designate the boundaries between the parishes of St Pancras, St Marylebone, and St John Hampstead. The ones in the photos below are (clockwise from top left) 1) Broadwalk, 2 &3) Primrose Hill, 4) English Garden
Before London had any kind of corporate government, and long before the London Borough was created as an administrative unit, local services had to be provided by the existing historic bodies.
The parish already existed for religious purposes and it was also a form of management. It was to the parish that local administrative responsibility was gradually given by Parliament. Even when new statutory bodies were set up to deal with lighting, policing, paving, sewerage etc, the parish remained as the local unit capable of raising its local rate or tax. It was therefore important that people knew what parish they lived in and where the boundaries were. From this, emerged the need for distinctive markers.
Over time, the civil and ecclesiastical duties of parishes diverged, and parish boundaries no longer corresponded with other authorities in the area, for example the City of London boundary crossed through the middle of several parishes.