.’. London’s Roman Basilica and Forum .’.

Originally built in AD70 and then expended in AD90 – 120, London’s Roman basilica was a building unlike any other in Britain. Occupying nearly 2 hectares of land and standing at a height of up to 3 storeys high, this building was larger than the present day St Paul’s Cathedral!

The basilica acted a civic centre and housed city administrators, law courts, an assembly hall, the treasury and shrines. At its height it was also the largest building of its type north of the Alps, showing the importance of London within the Roman Empire.

The basilica also formed one side of a forum, a huge open-air square that acted as a public meeting place (similar to modern day Trafalgar Square) and housed many shops and market stalls. The forum was also a popular place for socialising and partying in Roman London!

Throughout the 2nd and 3rd centuries, numerous structural faults were identified with the buildings and a series of repairs and modifications were carried out. However, the nail in the coffin didn’t come until AD300, when both the basilica and forum were destroyed by Rome as a punishment for London supporting the rogue emperor Carausius.

Although small portions of the forum may have survived, the majority of the basilica and forum were lost into the annals of history until the construction of Leadenhall Market in the 1880s. During this building work, a large support was found which would have acted as the base of an arch in one of the basilica’s arcades. Today, these remains are housed in the basement of a barber’s shop at the corner of Gracechurch Street and Leadenhall Market.

The receptionist of the Barber’s is lovely and let me go down to have a look at tge remains myself.

Absolutely amazing part of London’s history.

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.’. The Monument Stairs .’.

The more I research about the Monument of the Great Fire London the more amazing things I find about it. Lets not forget about the Architects. Yes. We all know that Christopher Wren rebuilt London after the Great Fire, but how much of it he did by himself and how much of it he had help?

The Monument is one of the buildings that Wren had his right hand man helping with. Robert Hooke’s design was the one approved by the King and Hooke used the Monument for his experiments with the Royal Society. (more on that later)

This time I want to talk about the stairs, the more I look into it the more intrigues me. Lots of papers from Wren’s Society talks about how this Doric Column was inspired by the Trojan Column in Rome. But I like to think about how Robert Hooke got his inspiration from.

Hooke also made major contributions to the field of geology, being the first to realise that fossils were once living organisms and that they had become extinct due to some natural disaster.

The recent 2007 restoration of The Monument the stone was sourced from the current Manx quarry operators Pooil Vaaish Ltd. The stone is from the Posidonomya Beds of the Castleton Limestone. Posidonomya is a fossil bivalve with a concentrically-ribbed shell which occurs, albeit scarcely in this stone. (see photo of one of the steps at the Monument) . Presence of this organism confirms that this is Pooilvaaish Stone.

The new beautiful stairs of The Monument can’t be there just to take you to the top. Maybe it is a “monument” to remind us all that Robert Hooke was part of this building. You can make your way to the top and look down…see how the spiral stairs imitates the beautiful fossils that Robert Hooke used to drawn when he was a young boy. (See photo)

I like to think that the stairs of the Monument was inspire on a Pyritised Ammonite, don’t you agree????

Robert Hooke Fossil

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.’. Major General Thomas Harrison .’.

He was the first of the signatories of Charles I’s Death Warrant to be executed.

​Tied to a sledge he was pulled from Newgate Prison to Charing Cross. On ascending the scaffold, he refused to repent.

He was hanged with a short drop, once his body had stopped thrashing about he was cut down, and as he regained consciousness his shirt was pulled away.

The executioner then cut of his genitals, which were shown to him, then thrown into a bucket. He was held down while a red-hot metal was forced into his stomach.
While his innards were being burned in front of him, Harrison swung a punch and caught the executioner off-guard.

The embarrassed executioner lost his temper and killed Harrison.

Harrison’s head was severed, his heart cut out, and his body cut into four pieces.

.’. Chimney .’.

Tower Bridge is full of hidden secrets, one of them is this lovely Chimney. 

At first glance it just looks like one of the blue lamp posts along the Bridge, but this is a chimney connected to a room below that was once used by the Royal Fusiliers protecting the Tower of London. 

To keep them warm they used the fireplace inside the guards room during their stay while protecting the Tower. 

London Clean Air Act came into force on 1956 after the Great Smog of 1952…and with that many Chimneys lost their use as only smokeless fuel was aloud in urban areas. 

.’. Echoes Across the Century .’.

There is this exhibition at Guildhall Art Gallery that explores personal stories of those involved in the First World War. 

I saw the exhibition a few times this week as I work there. I saw many exhibitions in my many years of working at Museums and Galleries but this one piece in this exhibition made my heart sink, made me think, made me cry alone at the Gallery, made me want to know this people, made me want to go home and hold the ones I love forever.

Collection of Tears by Jessie Ellman created in 1917 after the death of Lt. W.G. Hicks.

Bellow some of the sayings…

  • When we stood beneath the stars.
  • The kiss by the church.
  • Thinking of the day you asked me to marry.
  • I shall miss you so much.
  • Your last message of love 
  • The day I first saw you in uniform and realised it was real.
  • The day you left for France.
  • Everyday when I was afraid for you and had no news.
  • Dreams of our wedding day and our love.
  • The dead of all my hoped and dreams.
  • When they said they had news of you, and you had died. 3rd July 1917.