Address: Fish Street Hill, London EC3R 8AH


Time: From 9.30am

Phone: 0207 626 2717


350m from Cannon Street

100m from Monument

The Monument is a 202 ft high doric column, designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built in 1671-77 to commemorate both the Great Fire of London and the subsequent rebuilding of the city. The fire started on Sunday September 2nd 1666 in the bakery of Thomas Farynor, the king’s baker. The bakery was in Pudding Lane, 202 ft away from the monument.

The fire destroyed much of London and lasted three days, leaving only stone structures standing. There was little loss of life and as far as the city was concerned, although not felt at the time, it was a Godsend. The existing infrastructure couldn’t cope with the rapidly expanding city and was badly in need of redesigning, which the fire allowed it to do as the narrow streets were then widened.

The column is made of Portland stone and took six years to build, this due to the lack of stone. The king eventually gave the proclamation that no stone should leave the Isle of Portland for another destination without the prior consent of Wren. The cost of the project was £13,450 11s 9d, which would be over £3 million today.

There is an internal staircase of 311 six inch steps to the viewing platform at the top as well as an underground laboratory room, as it was designed to aid scientific experiments. The scientific side was rarely used. The viewing balcony is now caged off, but in 1732 a sailor climbed down on a rope. In 1750 a weaver accidentally fell off and six people committed suicide between 1788-1842.

The monument has a gilded urn and flame on top. There was to have been a statue of Charles II, but he was reluctant to have his image associated with the start of the fire. The base has four plaques. The north plaque tells of how the fire started, the south the restoration and action of the king, the east gives the years of construction and the west has a sculpture of the destruction by Danish sculptor Caius Gabriel Cibber.

Due to its historic significance, this is one of the most famous London sites.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.