Mysterious symbols appear on London roads

Strange symbols have been spotted in West London.

Weird symbols appear on Uxbridge roads. What could they mean?

Reader Maria Speechley spotted one at the junction of Grove Road, Uxbridge and Grove Way.

There is another of the white, spray painted symbols in the pedestrianised section of Uxbridge High Street, close to Lloyds Bank.

The mark – a square central dot with radiating triangles – resembles a windmill’s sails or a stylised sun.

Harrow police confirmed last week how criminals in their area have been using coded symbols to indicate properties or areas worth investigating for burglary.

Speechley seems to jump right to conspiracies though as she asks whether it could be a landing site for aliens or some kind of secret message. Although she might also just play this up for laughs.

If the police are correct, it might indeed be a secret message but for thieves and burglars, not aliens.

Or do we have another Toynebee tiles mystery on our hands?

weird road symbol

  16 comments for “Mysterious symbols appear on London roads

  1. DVMKurmes
    March 27, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    Surveyors marks maybe? Might be useful to be able to place your equipment in the same spot again? Could be by criminals as well, but it looks like something a surveyor would use.

  2. Lee
    March 27, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    Would you not think they would utilize a different color, not so markedly noticible to mark a property for theft? The symbol is too noticiable.

  3. March 27, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    These look something like the symbols council workers use to mark up spots where they’re planning to do some work. If so, it wouldn’t be the first time and place they’ve done that without telling the local coppers.

  4. One Eyed Jack
    March 27, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    I’m thinking something much less simple, like road crews marking points for future work/repairs.

  5. kompani101
    March 27, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    It looks like a surveyors reference point. The location of the theodolite used to survey the area for road/building works or even map making.

  6. March 27, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    One Eyed Jack and kompani101: Also very good suggestions/theories. Wish I had thought of that when I wrote the post!

  7. drewbit
    March 27, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    Possibly pipeline or sewer centerline markers.

    Future digs would need to know where the underground cables and pipes are.

    I also agree with the possible surveyors’ markings.

    One of the simplest explanations is that it is a clue for a GeoCache.

  8. March 27, 2014 at 5:04 PM

    Here’s a similar mark under a GPS surveying device – (scroll through photos )

  9. March 27, 2014 at 7:54 PM

    My brain hurts !
    Er …. it’s a benchmarch, to mark the level – made by surveyors or contractors doing a topography survey.
    You see them everywhere.

  10. March 27, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    Steve: That’s not the level symbol.

  11. March 27, 2014 at 9:08 PM

    Maybe it is in England?

  12. March 28, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    I don’t think so. In England, benchmarks are on walls, not on the ground, and they look different. Picture here:,1330678164,2/stock-photo-benchmark-sign-chiselled-into-a-yellow-stone-wall-96526108.jpg

  13. March 28, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    I stand corrected.

  14. March 28, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    Almost certain that these are marks left by surveyors. My first full-time professional programming job I worked for a subsidiary of Leica that makes the instruments used.

    They are reference points against which other points in the area are being measured. In the US you usually see these marked with a small spike or nail into the ground, sometimes with a brightly colored tag on it. But I could see using paint in an urban area which is mostly paved.

    By the way, on the use of the term “level” here – some instruments will use a plumb bob (literally a lead weight on the end of a chain) to determine position. It hangs from beneath the platform holding instrument and nearly touches the ground. In setting up the tripod, you position the plumb bob such that it points at the mark on the ground. If it is pointed exactly at the mark and has stopped moving, then you know the instrument (or target – whatever is on the tripod) is directly above the mark.

  15. Mike
    March 29, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    The last time I saw this, young Master Jim was looking at it on a map that belonged to Mr. LJ Silver. Yarrr!

  16. sleepi kitti
    March 30, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    I know what this is! It is a symbol marking the places that have been used by Julian James, Extreme Mind Magician, in his “Yoga around the UK” project; I filmed him in Uxbridge being asked to leave the bank because ‘meditating’ was not allowed. We also had an interesting chat with the Coca-Cola bouncers in their nice new headquarters by Uxbridge station. Google him to see his other urban guerilla yogic exploits and Julian’s brushes with the law, security guards etc during his attempts to de-hypnotise the sleepwalking public.

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