Wednesday, 10 August 2011

London's Monument

I can't remember what inspired us. 
It may have been a desire to see a bird's eye view of London from something other than the London Eye. 
It may have been to find the contrasting view to that of London from the river. 

I don't remember why, but I do remember that Caramel decided she wanted to climb the Monument and I decided to tag along. 

Built in commemoration of the Great Fire of London, 1666, it stands on Monument Street between Fish Street Hill and Pudding Lane, 62 metres (202 feet) tall, and 62 metres (202 feet) from the bakery of Thomas Farynor on Pudding Lane where the fire started.

Viewing it from afar, it's hard to believe that it is not a standard solid Roman column like that of Nelson's column in Trafalgar Square. Instead it contains a spiral staircase of 311 stairs that takes you to a viewing platform under the gilded urn and fireball at the top, 

At the time of construction, it provided the highest viewpoint in London, providing an opportunity for Jacobeans to experience an unparalleled view of London, above the hustle and bustle of the city and its numerous church spires. Now, baring St Paul's, these spires are barely discernible in amongst the modern high-rise and skyscrapers that dominate the landscape.  

The red star indicates the location of the Monument while the blue stars are landmarks identifiable in the photos below (clockwise from the Tower of London)
The Tower of London
Tower Bridge
The Shard, atop London Bridge Station
Across Southwark and Lambeth towards the Battersea Power Station 

Victoria Tower at the Houses of Parliament, (Big Ben is hidden behind the tower block), and the London Eye

St Paul's with the smaller spire of St Bride's in the distant left. 
It's disappointing not to be able to pick out more of the historic landmarks, as one often can from the high points in Paris. But then, London was not protected like Paris from the bombs of World War II and so the centre of London cannot comprise solely of antique architecture and beautiful baroque facades.
Instead, in keeping with its image as a significant business centre in this day and age, modern architecture has sprung up, often glass skyscrapers that obliterate the views of some historical landmarks.
At least they leave enough for a brief treasure hunt, and the view is different to the standard one from the London Eye. 

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