The Monument commemorating the Great Fire of London and more commonly known simply as The Monument, is situated near the northern end of London Bridge in the City of London. It stands at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill, 202 ft (62 m) tall and 202 ft (62 m) from the spot in Pudding Lane where the Great Fire started on 2 September 1666.. Constructed between 1671 and 1677, 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.
The Monument is a fluted Doric column built of Portland stone topped with a gilded urn of fire. It was designed by Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. Its height marks its distance from the site of the shop of Thomas Farynor, the king’s baker, where the Great Fire began. The top of the Monument is reached by a narrow winding staircase of 311 steps For admission times and entry costs go to www.themonument.info.
Three sides of the base carry inscriptions in Latin. The one on the south side describes actions taken by King Charles II following the fire. The one on the east describes how the Monument was started and brought to perfection, and under which mayors. Inscriptions on the north side describe how the fire started, how much damage it caused, and how it was eventually extinguished.
Sir Christopher Wren, as surveyor-general of the King’s Works, was asked to submit a design. Wren worked with Robert Hooke on the design of the monument. It is impossible to disentangle the collaboration between Hooke and Wren, but Hooke’s drawings of possible designs for the column still exist, with Wren’s signature on them indicating his approval of the drawings rather than their authorship. There was real contention about the type of ornament to have at the top but ultimately it was the design of a flaming gilt-bronze urn suggested by Robert Hooke that was chosen.
Wren and Hooke designed the monument to double-up as a scientific instrument. It has a central shaft meant for use as a zenith telescope and for use in gravity and pendulum experiments that connect to an underground laboratory for observers to work (accessible from the present-day ticket booth). Vibrations from heavy traffic on Fish Hill rendered the experimental conditions unsuitable. A hinged lid in the urn covers the opening to the shaft. The steps in the shaft of the tower are all six inches high, allowing them to be used for barometric pressure studies.
For accommodation go to www.chsrentals.com/london