The Spice Stones, erected in the centre of the courtyard in the form of an abstract statue, were an extremely generous gift from P & O, the world famous shipping line. They had been used to grind spices at Butler’s Wharf , on the banks of the Thames – very near to Tower Bridge – for hundreds of years.
They became redundant when the land they occupied was to be used for construction purposes and P & O donated them to the Gardens.
The paviours laid around the Spice Stones and, indeed, the whole courtyard , Ray obtained from Lancashire where they had been used , again for hundreds of years, as flooring in cotton mills. Altogether, they make quite a splendid sight.