On 2 September 1666 a fire broke out in a baker’s house on Pudding Lane, London. It spread across the majority of what was London in those days and wasn’t put out until 5 September. Many houses and churches (including St Paul’s Cathedral) were damaged, although records suggest not many people died in the fire.
To commemorate the Great Fire of London and celebrate the re-building of London, The Monument was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1671 and 1677.
Despite its height The Monument is now a bit hidden between buildings rather taller than the ones around it in 1750, although none of them next to it are quite the 61 metres high. Its internal staircase is 311 steps, widening out as you look down from higher up.
The weather wasn’t great on the day I visited, however these are the views from the top, starting south across the Thames towards the Shard, then West including St Paul’s, north for more City skyscrapers and east including Tower Bridge.
Sadly the either the original design, or a subsequent refurbishment has prevented a spiral slide down the banisters by putting these rather unpleasant stoppers along the way.
At the base there is a plaque in Latin explaining what the structure commemorates, which has been translated into English for us uneducated visitors on a sign below it, then summarised for the impatient on a white sign near the entrance.
Hopefully on its 350th anniversary this Friday, any fires breaking out in London will not last 3 days!