Walk 9: The heart of the City

This is the 9th walk from the 1980s AA guidebook. This one started and finished at Bank station and passes through the financial centre of London. This was was done 20/10/2018.

Walk 9: Heart of the City

The first stop was The London Stone – said to be the milestone from which distances were measured on military roads in Roman London. The stone is still on display but is not very prominent.

The next two stops were Laurence Pountney Hill and The Old Wine Shades. The former some great example of early 18th century London Houses, the latter sadly shut when I walked past. The Old Wine Shades survived both the great fire and the blitz.

The Old London Shades

Next was the Monument, designed by Christopher Wren and Robert Hook as a monument to the great fire of London and erected in 1671-7. The views from this monument of central London are really good.

After this I walked past Billingsgate where the old fish market used to be.

From here the tour proceeded to the Tiger Tavern. According to the 1980s guide:

Although rebuilt in this century, this tavern’s history stretches back over 400 years. Every ten years, the lord mayor, sheriffs and aldermen of London take part in an unusual beer testing ceremony here. A sample of the beer is poured on a stool provided by the official tester, and he then sits on it. If his trousers stick to the seat (and they always do), then the beer is pronounced to be of acceptable quality. 

After spending a considerable amount of time trying to find this tavern, google eventually told me that this tavern having survived the great fire and the blitz, could not withstand 21st century development and has now closed. In the UK many of the the old pubs are at risk with many closing each year.

After this sad news I proceeded onto the famous Tower of London. First the tour took me too The Tower Subway, 19th century engineering achievement as the first underground railway tunnel under the Thames.

The tower is one of London’s main tourist attractions. Built by Edward I, it is famous for being where princess Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Bell Tower.

From here the walk took me to the Trinity Square Gardens opposite the Tower. This square was the site of public executions until the 17th century.

Next the walk went up Seething Lane, where diarist Samuel Pepys worked. The church here has skulls on its gateway which Charles Dickens refers to in one of his works.

From here the walk took me to the disused Aldgate Pump. The water was believed to have efficacious qualities. The pump is now disused.

Next to this was The Sir John Cass charity school established in 1710.

After this I passed Bevis Marks Synagogue, the oldest Synagogue in England.

The walk then took me past “the enormous National Westminster Bank.” This building was bombed by the IRA in 1992 after this guide book was published. This is now the site of The Gherkin .

Next to this is St Helen’s Church, which dates back to the 12 century.

The final stop before returning to bank was the Simpson’s Tavern, sadly also closed when I walked past.

The walk then took me past the Stock Exchange and the Bank of England to Bank station.

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