Temple Bar review (Apr 2013)
This is out-of-date! I have been here again since I wrote this review
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Way back in Roman and Medieval times there used to be a big wall around the City of London with 7 gates in it. As the centuries went by most of the wall was demolished, leaving only bits and pieces dotted around the City (most of the surviving stuff can be found around the Barbican). Six of the gates were knocked down too, leaving only one survivor. Do you know where it is?
Well, it's not actually in its original place. It's been moved now. But it's original spot is marked by a posh monument down Fleet Street. It's near the Royal Courts of Justice, and sits in the middle of the road with a big black dragon on top. It's called the Temple Bar monument, and marks the original location of Temple Bar -- one of the ancient gates into the city.
The original gate was redesigned by Christopher Wren in the 1660s but unfortunately he made it a bit too narrow for the traffic that was steaming through two hundred years later, and the authorities tore it down. That's when a rich guy stepped in to save it, and transported it brick-by-brick to his posh house in the country. Ten years ago it was decided to bring it back to London again, and they re-erected it at Paternoster Square -- to the north of St Paul's Cathedral. (If you stand on the steps of St. Paul's, then you can see it across the road).
Try and imagine it how it used to be, straddling the road in Fleet Street with a steady stream of horse and traps roaring through it. And then imagine some poles coming out the top with the severed heads of criminals and traitors on -- because that's how it used to be 350 years ago!
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