Visit London Blog » the monument Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Visiting the Past: The Great Fire of London Mon, 02 Sep 2013 14:15:06 +0000 Today marks the anniversary of the Great Fire of London, which started at around 1am on Sunday 2 September 1666, in a bakery on Pudding Lane. Over the next four and a half days, 13,200 houses were destroyed by the relentless flames and an estimated 100,000 people were made homeless.

There is nothing left of the famous Pudding Lane bakery, though there is a plaque to mark its rough location. However, in 1979 archaeologists discovered the remains of a burnt-out building from the Great Fire on the same street. This would have been about two houses down from the bakery. In the sooty cellar, filled with fire debris, the archaeologists found traces of wooden barrels of pitch. This highly combustible substance, used for waterproofing boats, would have generated a huge and extremely hot fire that easily spread to other buildings. It is tempting to wonder whether the Great Fire would have been so great, had the buildings on Pudding Lane not been full of such flammable things.

The Monument to the Great Fire, designed by Robert Hooke and Christopher Wren, still stands close to Pudding Lane. This huge column was finished in 1677 and since then visitors have been able to climb its 311 steps to a viewing platform overlooking London. The Monument was originally designed both to commemorate the Great Fire and for the Royal Society to conduct scientific experiments. It was also intended to be a zenith telescope to observe the movements of stars, as there is a hollow shaft running from a cellar in the base, up the centre of the column, to a hatch in the flame on top. The cellar and the hatch are not accessible to the public so many people are not aware of this hidden aspect of the Monument’s history.

To find out more about the Great Fire of London, visit the Museum of London’s War, Plague and Fire gallery. To look at objects relating to the Great Fire in the Museum of London collection, visit the Collections Online pages.

A guest blog by Meriel Jeater of the Museum of London as part of the Visiting the Past series.

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London Video of the Week: Tiny London by TheWorldsCities Fri, 30 Nov 2012 12:30:58 +0000

This week, I wanted to share this great video from TheWorldCities, which gives some of London’s most famous locations a “toy-town” makeover.

Look out for Liverpool Street Station, the Houses of Parliament, Boris Bikes, Earl’s Court Station, Millenium Bridge, Charing Cross, Monument, Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus and Tower Bridge as you’ve never seen them before!

Check out more London videos at

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London Photo of the Week: The Monument Sat, 05 May 2012 08:00:03 +0000

We love the lighting in this golden photo of The Monument by atmilinko. Did you know that you can climb all the way up to the top of the Monument and see the views over the City of London?

The Monument was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and celebrated the rebuilding of London after the great fire in 1666.

If you’ve taken a great photo showing London’s rich history, please share your photo with the Visit London Flickr group.

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Free Music Concert from The Monument: This Weekend Wed, 28 Sep 2011 14:30:38 +0000 The MonumentFor the first time ever this weekend, The Monument in the City of London will host a concert.

The free concert is being put on by Live Music Sculpture on Saturday and Sunday, 1 and 2 October.

If you’re around this weekend, look out for five musicians, including a soprano, positioned inside the four large alcoves and at the bottom of the stairs in The Monument.

The creator of the event, Samuel Bordoli, is a multi-award winning composer and musician. He’s composing a 15-minute piece, called Monument which will be played at regular intervals throughout the two days.

Samuel said, “I had been looking to do something different with acoustics for quite some time and on visiting the Monument last year I realised it was the perfect place to develop my ideas.

“Working with the building’s acoustical properties, we will be able to create sounds and musical effects which would be impossible to achieve anywhere else. This will be a truly historical event, and Live Music Sculpture will be the first people ever to have composed music for, and perform, in this magnificent structure. This [is] the first piece of music composed for a vertical space/column, an act which, as far as we are aware, is unprecedented.”

Visit to find out more about The Monument

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London Photo of the Week: A tall ship in the Pool of London Sat, 27 Aug 2011 08:00:57 +0000

The sailors hanging on to the rigging at the top of this tall ship have an excellent view of London, although not quite as high as the viewing platform of The Monument in the background. The ship, photographed by Baynes Media, has passed under Tower Bridge into the upper Pool of London, next to HMS Belfast and the Tower of London.

Have you seen the sights in London this week? Don’t forget to add your photo to the Visit London Flickr group.

You can watch ships passing under Tower Bridge on our Tower Bridge Live webcam.

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London Photo of the Week: View from The Monument Thu, 09 Sep 2010 08:00:18 +0000

Have you ever climbed The Monument? I haven’t been up there since I was about 8, but I still remember all those stairs and the amazing view from the top. The London skyline is always changing so if you haven’t been up there for years, it’s time for another trip!

Nick Garrod shared this photo of the view from the top with the Visit London Flickr pool. Don’t forget to add your photos to the group and tell us your favourite places to get a bird’s eye view of London.

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