It is in this area that London started in Roman times – and nearly ended in 1666 in the Great Fire of London. The fire lasted 4 days and destroyed 80 per cent of medieval London; 14,000 houses, 87 churches and 44 (of 60) Livery Halls. Built in 1677 the Monument commemorates the Great Fire. Today, it is still the world’s largest free standing stone column. You can climb to the top of the Monument by a narrow winding staircase of 311 steps.
Visit this beautiful original central London market for ‘white goods’ (i.e. poultry and diary). It is one of the oldest markets in London, dating from the 14th century, and is located in the historic centre of the City of London financial district. Today, there are many lunch venues. You’ll recognise it as ‘Diagon Alley’ from Harry Potter.
Bank of England
Financial, monetary and political stability persuade foreign government’s to store their gold (around 3600 tonnes in total) at the Bank. Established in 1694 (to encourage lending to the State, rather than the Crown) by a Scotsman; William Patterson.
It is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. In 1998, it became an independent public organisation with independence in setting monetary policy (i.e. the interest rate). It doesn’t offer consumer banking services – but you can visit the small museum and handle a gold bar.
This is London’s oldest shopping mall. The original building (from 1571) provided manufacturers and traders a space to show off their wares – seeking orders from London, Britain and Europe. The present building was occupied by the Lloyd’s insurance market for nearly 150 years and today, it’s a marketplace for luxury goods. It is on the steps of the Royal Exchange where proclamations (such as death of a monarch, confirmation of new monarch or the dissolution of parliament) are read out by either a royal herald or a crier.
This is the grand palatial home of the Lord Mayor of the City of London. It is used for some of the City of London’s official functions, including two annual white tie dinners, hosted by the Lord Mayor. In early June, the Chancellor of the Exchequer gives their ‘Mansion House Speech’ (a state of the nation address). Architecturally, it’s a fine example of an Italian City Palace in the style of Palladio, built in 1750.