This symbol on the steps leading to Woodford Cottage denotes that this was once a colonial property and thus owned by the Crown. It is the only such property in Gibraltar known to bear this symbol to date.
It is not to be confused with the OS Benchmark symbol which can be identified by the addition of a horizontal line to determine the actual position of the benchmark.
The broad arrow symbol
A broad arrow symbol, more correctly called a pheon, is a heraldic device of an arrowhead, comprising a tang and two barbs meeting at a point. The symbol was later adopted by the British government to mark government property. It became particularly associated with the Board of Ordnance until 1855 when it was absorbed into the War Department, but the broad arrow continued to be used by its successor bodies: The War Department 1855–57, the War Office 1857–1964, and by the Ministry of Defence from 1964 onwards, before being phased out in the 1980’s.
Throughout this time the broad arrow symbol appeared regularly on military boxes and equipment such as canteens, bayonets and rifles as well as military maps and documents. Convict uniforms were also stamped with this symbol to denote Government property.