Through The Ranger’s inbox this week came an appeal from a visitor to Southsea Beach, Hampshire. A gentleman was on the beach with his granddaughter when the young lady found a curious pebble.
This intriguing object was the cause of much electronic debate up and down the Solent, as it was passed around the Solent Forum. A mystery to be sure – a seemingly normal pebble bearing a stamped number. Eventually, some clever Solent Forumer unearthed a link to an arts project which started around about 1998 called One Million Pebbles. Artist Pete Codling undertook a city-wide art project in Portsmouth, making clay pebbles with the public. They were personalised, number stamped and fired in a kiln. Then they were thrown into the sea at Southsea beach for others to find in the future… evidently that bit of it works. Pete Codling said on his website in 2005:
I have reached half a million so far.
It’s not clear whether or not Pete is still making the pebbles (he was, until 2011 – see below), but what a nice idea, and an interesting puzzle for a child on the beach, her grandfather, and a host of bored local government officers.
Update: Pete Codling reads The Ranger’s Blog – see his comments below from 2010.
Update: Pete said in 2016 “To see more info and imagery visit the One Million Pebbles Facebook page and see the growing archive of those found on the beach.”