Photo By Peter Watts
The Monument to the Fire of London

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The Monument to the Fire of London - PHOTOGRAPHER COMMENT

Panorama of the London skyline seen from the top of The Monument to the Fire of London linked to a London map. The picture shows a view down the River Thames towards Tower Bridge and over the City of London. It is a composite formed of numerous pictures taken through the fence while walking around the viewing platform.

The Monument to the Fire of London - FURTHER INFORMATION

The Monument to the Fire of London - London visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'The Monument to the Fire of London' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Greater London.

The Monument is a popular tourist attraction (entrance FREE with the London Pass) with a steady flow of people climbing to the top to see a panoramic view of the London skyline along the Thames and the City of London. Many other important sites and attractions in London are visible from the top of The Monument, including The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, City Hall, HMS Belfast, The Tate Modern and the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral). In the city the most obvious building is the gherkin shaped Swiss Rhe building. The London Eye and the tower of Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster are also visible on the skyline.

The Monument was erected to commemorate the Great Fire of London in 1666 and burned for 4 days destroying about 80% of the city in the process. This is probably the single greatest calamity to befall London, not rivaled even by the Blitz of WWII. The Monument was designed by Sir Christopher Wren (of St. Paul's Cathedral fame) and built between 1671-7. It was given a £4.5m face-lift during 2008 and re-opened to the public in February 2009.

The Monument is not on the site of the start of the Great Fire, which started on Pudding Lane 202 feet to the East in Thomas Farynor's bakery. However, the Monument is 202 feet tall thereby linking it to the site. In fact the Monument remains the tallest standing stone column in the world. The Monument is a hollow Doric column of Portland stone capped with a flaming copper urn symbolizing the Great Fire.

On the North side of the Monument is a Latin inscription which translates as "In the year of Christ 1666, on 2 September, at a distance eastward from this place of 202 ft, which is the height of this column, a fire broke out in the dead of night which, the wind blowing, devoured even distant buildings, and rushed devastating through every quarter with astonishing swiftness and noise. On the third day at the bidding, we may well believe, of heaven, the fire stayed its course and everywhere died out."

The Monument was also designed as a scientific instrument. The co-designer with Wren was Robert Hooke, a keen physicist and together they installed cellar laboratory just below the ground floor. The top of the Monument opened to the sky turning the whole into a Zenith telescope, intended for studying the motion of the Earth around the Sun. Unfortunately the Monument proved to be too unstable for this type of experiment. The steps inside the Monument were exactly 6 inches high allowing for precise measurements for experiments involving pressures and pendulums. Hooke did some work on the highly sensitive wheel barometer at this 'Fish Street Pillar'.

Entrance to The Monument is FREE with the London Pass. This also applies to other London attractions in the area including the Tower of London, Tower Bridge Experience, and the HMS Belfast. Here is another panorama from the top of the Monument, taken on a virtually cloudless day.


Tube: Bank (Central, Jubilee, Northern lines and DLR), Monument (Circle, District lines)

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