City of London walk


First, a clarification. This word "City" is capitalized and refers to the oldest part of London, which is a little more than one square mile in size. Since there is no difference between upper and lower case letters in spoken speech, the name "Square Mile" is often used.

We start our walk from Tower Hill tube station. The station is named after a nearby fort. It then gave its name to both the Underground station (which was originally located a few hundred meters to the west) and the most famous bridge in London. There are six towers in the Tower fortress, but the name comes from the tower-like structure White Tower, from which the whole fortress started.

Exiting the Underground, we move in front of the hotel and turn right, here we see a piece of the city wall and in front of it the statue of Emperor Trajan, with raised hand (sometimes has a banana stuck between the fingers by pranksters). The wall was apparently built to protect the city around 120, but it also had the function of forcing merchants entering the city to pay a tax at the gate. But if we want to see the fortress closer, we can go up the stairs to the square above the Underground entrance. There is a huge sundial that was built there in 1992.

Now let's go back and on the right is Trinity House, in front of it is a nice park called Trinity garden. We go through it to Byward Street. The park is nice, there are also memorials to those who died in World War I and II, but let's also know that this is the same place where most of the Tower prisoners were executed. Only 21 people have been executed inside the Tower, 11 of them at the beginning of the 20th century (German spies).

Walking along the street towards the west, we see the church All Hallows by the Tower on the left. If we manage to get in there, we can see a section of the floor, which is actually a section of the 7th century street pavement. We may also see a church book there, in which the marriage of the sixth president of the USA, John Quincy Adams, was recorded in this church in 1797. Directly across the street from the church is a house with large arched doors, these was the original entrance to the tube station.

Moving forward as shown on the map, we reach a nice park, which is located in the former church of St Dunstan in the East. The medieval church, which was thoroughly rebuilt in the 18th century, was bombed in World War II, and only the tower, designed by the master Sir Christopher Wren (who designed more than 50 churches in London), remained standing. The area was turned into a park in 1971. Closer to here than a hundred meters is the church of St Mary-At-Hill, which was designed by the man already mentioned (after the Great Fire of London).

We pass the Watermen's Hall. The headquarters of a livery company was located there. This term "livery" denotes an association of merchants and craftsmen, of which there were 110 in London.

We reach the monument, which is simply called Monument. It was designed by Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke to commemorate the Great Fire of 1666. It is 61.5 meters (202 feet) high, and that's how far east the fire started in the bakery. A foreign watchmaker was hanged as the cause of the fire, who was probably not even in the area. A spiral staircase with 311 steps leads to the top of the tower. Above, the balcony is surrounded by a lattice because people tended to fall or jump from there. Paradoxically, more people have fallen to their deaths from the top of the pillar than died in the giant fire mentioned. There was a plan to put an statue of the king on top of the column, but Charles II politely refused, saying that he did not start the fire.

On the way, we will probably pass the smallest "memorial" in the world. On the wall of the house there is a figure of two mice scrambling for a piece of cheese. Two construction workers once got into a fight over who had eaten others sandwich. In the struggle, they both fell to their deaths from the scaffolding. But the sandwich had been eaten by mice...

Next we reach Leadenhall Market. There is no market here any more, but there are small shops. Designed by Horace Jones, it was completed in 1881. A wonderful place, definitely worth a look. It has also been filmed here several times for the Harry Potter films. The name comes from a building that once stood here in the 14th century (lead-roofed).

We pass the house 54-55 Cornhill. Little devils look at us from the facade of the house. It is said that during the construction of the house there had been disputes over ownership with the vicar of the local church who lived on the neighbouring plot. And for the sake of teasing, these evil-looking devils were added to the facade.

The next object of interest on our way is St. Michael's church. The church is tightly squeezed between much newer houses, you can miss it if you are in a hurry. It was in the garden of this church that in 1652 a man named Pasqua Rosée began offering an interesting new drink called coffee. It is said to have had a rather bitter taste, but with the help of skilful advertising it became popular. As early as 1663, there were 83 places in London where coffee was served.

Next we come to Lombard Street. The name of the street is related to the Italian financiers who found a place here in the 14th century. 5-10 Lombard Street housed Lloyd's Coffee House from 1691 to 1785 (owner was Edward Lloyd). Local businessmen and merchants gathered in this place. To mitigate the risks, they started making contracts with each other against losses. Today, Lloyd's is one of the world's leading associations of insurance companies.

Next we can move to the Royal Exchange building. Currently there is a cafe, shops and some offices. We can also enter the house through the back door, right near the door is a statue of Paul Julius Reuters. This man of Jewish origin (and originally bearing a different name) organized one of the world's largest news agencies.

After we've had a coffee, we can go out the front door and admire the square with a war monument and an equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington. The Duke of Wellington, civilly named Arthur Wellesley, was the leader of the victorious Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and the only man to have two equestrian statues in London (the other is at Hyde Park Corner). Looking to the left, we see another statue, standing there is Henry Greathead, the man who invented the tunnelling shield, thanks to which the world's first Underground became a reality. In the same tiny square there was also the first public paid toilet. Since then, when going to the toilet, it is customary in the company to say: "I'll spend a penny."

Right next door is the huge Bank of England building. An ordinary person cannot enter the building without a good reason, but there is also a museum around the corner where you can see everything related to money.

We move a little further, and we see another house with pillars. This is Mansion House, the residence of the City Mayor. Not the Mayor of London, but the Mayor of the City, they are different persons. The first such official was Henry Fitzailwin, who took office in 1189. This position is currently only available for one year, there is no salary and all representation expenses must be covered by yourself. The appointment process is incredibly complicated, the corresponding diagram fills the A4 page quite tightly. However, there is no shortage of applicants.

We continue down a street called Poultry, which soon changes its name to Cheapside. "Cheap" in old English parlance meant market, and that's what it once was here. For example, Bread Street and Milk Street branch off from this street, walk like you are in a supermarket. :-)

In the corner, there is a bronze bas-relief of the bishop on the wall of the house. This is Thomas Becket, who was born here in 1120. Becket was murdered right in the church on the orders of King Henry II and later canonized.

We turn onto Gresham Street and again see the beautiful church designed by Sir Wren.

We end the journey at the shopping and entertainment centre One New Change. There we can eat/drink and take the lift to the roof. It offers a magnificent view of St Paul's Cathedral and not only...