The Monument was designed by Christopher Wren
, built on the orders of Charles II
to commemorate the dead of the Great Fire of London
, and completed in 1677. A tall, thin column of stone, it was the tallest building in the world at the time. (It's still the tallest free standing stone column
in the world.) The 202 foot
height matches the distance from its base to the point where the fire first started, on Pudding Lane
. It's built on the site of one of the 89 church
es destroyed in the fire.
After the wooden buildings of London
were consumed in the flames (around 80 per cent in the area), there was a great wave of optimism. Not only had the last traces of the plague
been cleared away, but now there was the chance to rebuild the city in brick
and stone, and build streets that were more open, less cram-jammed in on top of each other. The carvings on the bottom of the Monument reflect this.
With 400 steps to the top and no elevator
, it's an effort to climb on a summer's day, panting and sweating to the top, but worth it for the slice of view
between the buildings. Only costs a quid
or thereabouts to go in. And the way it catches the sunlight, and all the gold glitters and shines at the top is a mad surprise between the serious City
buildings that swarm around it.
note: the Circle
and District Line tube
station at monument is not at all close to the Central Line
one at Bank
, whatever the tubemap indicates.