Friday, September 14, 2012

Photo-a-Day - Sept 2012 - Day 14: Monument

Photo-a-Day - Sept 2012 - Day 14: Monument 
On my last day of my trip to London, I had enough time before I needed to be at the airport that I hired a black cab driver for a tour of the city.  It was one of the best things I could have done.  

It was early Sunday morning.  There was virtually no city traffic.  The driver asked what were my primary interests.  History and architecture, was my answer.  

On of our first stops was this:  the Memorial to the Great Fire of London--more simply known as "The Memorial."  For those of us who read historical mysteries, the Great Fire is something often referenced so seeing the Memorial was quite special for me.   It is quite remarkable on two levels.

[from Wikipedia]  "The Great Fire of London burned for three days, from Sunday, 2 September to Wednesday, 5 September 1666.  It started at the bakery of Thomas Farriner (or Farynor) on Pudding Lane, shortly after midnight on Sunday, 2 September, and spread rapidly west across the City of London.  It consumed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, St. Paul's Cathedral and most of the buildings of the City authorities. It is estimated to have destroyed the homes of 70,000 of the City's 80,000 inhabitants.  Remarkably, there were only six verifiable deaths.

The Monument is a free-standing Roman fluted Doric column designed by the great Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke.  It is the tallest isolated stone column in the world and was built on the site of St. Margaret's, Fish Street, the first church to be burnt down by the Great Fire.  Its height marks its distance from the site in Pudding Lane of the shop of Thomas Farynor, the king's baker, where the Great Fire began.  The west side of the base displays a sculpture, by Caius Gabriel Cibber, in alto and bas relief, of the destruction of the City; with Charles II and his brother, James, the Duke of York (later James II), surrounded by liberty, architecture, and science, giving directions for its restoration."

One can climb to the top of the Monument via a narrow winding staircase of 311 steps.   Those of you how know me also know I did not make that climb. 

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