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The Monument is a memorial to the damage caused by the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was designed by Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke, and built between 1671 and 1677.
It measures 203-feet from top to bottom – the exact distance from its base to Pudding Lane, where the fire broke out. A flaming copper urn sits upon the top, to symbolise the flames.
There are four inscriptions chiselled around the sides… The one on the north describes how the Great Fire of London started, and the one on the south shows King Charles II taking action after the event. The words on the east side describe how the Monument was built.
There is also a section detailing the destruction in the City, a small sample of which is shown below:
The ruins of the city were 436 acres (1.8 km²), viz. 333 acres (1.3 km²) within the walls, and 63 acres (255,000 m²) in the liberties of the city; that, of the six-and-twenty wards, it utterly destroyed fifteen, and left eight others shattered and half burnt; and that it consumed 400 streets, 13,200 dwelling-houses, 89 churches [besides chapels]; 4 of the city gates, Guildhall, many public structures, hospitals, schools, libraries, and a vast number of stately edifices.
An extra message was chiselled on in 1681 –
But Popish frenzy, which wrought such horrors, is not yet quenched. This was a reference to the anti-Catholic feeling of the times, and was scrubbed out in 1831 when Catholics were given civil rights.
Pudding Lane today is nothing much to look at – it is filled with modern office blocks. But if you want to take a look then walk up Fish Street Hill. Turn right into Eastcheap, and then right again into the famous lane.
You can also get a good view from above, by climbing the 311 steps to the Monument’s viewing platform.
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