|An Aldgate Walk
Route & what to see
This 3 mile walk, centred on Aldgate, explores the eastern section of the City and beyond including Whitechapel High Street and a street market. It begins at Tower Hill tube station (Circle & District lines) and finishes near Liverpool Street Station. Aldgate and Algate East Stations are on the route. There are opportunities to include visits (details below) but not all will be available every day. There are plenty of places for refreshments weekdays but more limited weekends.
Exit the station and walk
across to Trinity Square Gardens
This has a memorial pavilion (WWI) designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and a garden (WWII) by Sir Edward Maufe to the 24000 members of the Merchant Navy & Fishing Fleet who have 'no grave but the sea'. It is also the site of the scaffold, marked with a plaque, where 125 people were publicly executed. The Corporation of Trinity House has been here since 1793 but the building was rebuilt and extended following WWII bomb damage. Number 10 is the former PLA Headquarters of 1912-22 designed by Sir Edwin Cooper. [pix]
From Trinity Square go right
along Byward Street
All Bar One occupies the building that was Mark Lane Station and its former access provides a subway under the road
Go right alongside this
building into Seething Lane
The garden on the right marks the site of the Navy Office and has a bust of Samuel Pepys who lived & worked in the building. Pepys and his wife worshiped and were buried in St Olave's Church opposite. St Olave, dedicated to King Olaf of Norway, was rebuilt in stone in the 13th century. This crypt remains but the current church is mainly 15th century having survived the Great Fire.
At the end go right along
Crutched Friars and left into Lloyds Avenue then left into
Lloyds Registrar of Shipping by Richard Rogers has been built partly on the site of St Katherine Coleman Church, demolished in 1925. The Elephant pub at 119 survived the Great Fire and was rebuilt in 1826.
Go left into Fenchurch Place
Fenchurch Street Station, opened in 1841 for the London & Blackwall Railway, was the first terminus in the City but has since been rebuilt.
Go ahead along London Street
and right at Mark Lane
The church of All Hallows Staining was demolished in 1870 leaving only the 15th century tower. It is in the care of the Clothworkers whose nearby livery hall was re-built in 1958 having been destroyed by bombing in 1941.
At the end go left into
There is a view of the distinctive Minster Court to the left in Mincing Lane
Go right at Lime Street
On the left is Leadenhall Market, a building of 1881 by Horace Jones, on a site which held a market in Roman times.
Go through the market into
Leadenhall Place then re-join Lime Street
Lloyds began in a coffee house in the 1680s and moved to the present site, formerly occupied by the East India Company, in 1928. The building was re-developed by Richard Rogers in a high-tec style in 1986 but incorporates a Georgian boardroom.
Cross to the church of St
This ancient church (named after a nearby maypole) was re-built 1520-32 and has a memorial to the historian John Stow. It has had later restorations and improvements
Go along St Mary Axe
On the right is the distinctive building designed by Norman Foster for Swiss Re - dubbed the 'Gherkin'. It is on the site of the Baltic Exchange bombed by the IRA. To the left is the church of St Helen's Bishopgate (also bombed) with an unusual double nave which separated the parishioners from the Benedictine nuns.
At the end go right into Bevis
In a courtyard to the right is the Spanish & Portugese Synagogue
Go right into Creechurch Lane
and left at Leadenhall Street
St Katherine Cree church was built in the 13th century by the prior of Holy Trinity as a separate church for the parishioners. It was rebuilt in 1628-30 and restored in 1962. On the corner with Fenchurch Street & Aldgate is the Algate Pump dated 1870-1. An earlier pump was located to the east.
Go left along Aldgate
Just off Mitre Street on the left is Mitre Square where one of Jack the Ripper's victims was found. On the left within an office building are the remains of Holy Trinity Priory. This 12th century home of the canons of St Augustine was dissolved in 1532 and subsequently pulled down. Sir John Cass School was founded in 1669 in Houndsditch with funds donated by Alderman Cass. It moved to its present site in 1908. Aldgate was the site of one of the City gates taken down in 1760 but at one time the residence of Geoffrey Chaucer.
Cross over to the church
This one of three dedicated to St Botolph as a saint associated with travellers. The present church was built by George Dance in 1740-4 but it has interior features designed by J F Bentley who was responsible for Westminster RC Cathedral. Five thousand plague victims were buried in the churchyard. There is a drinking fountain and old police call box in front of the church.
Cross by Aldgate station and
continue along Aldgate High Street
The Hoop & Grapes pub is the only timber framed building left in the City having escaped the Great Fire by only 50 yards. Originally a vintners it was given a new frontage in 1670 and has since been restored.
Use the subway to cross to the
north side of Whitechapel High Street continue along and go left
at Old Castle Street
The London Metropolitan University occupies Calcutta House, a former Brooke Bond tea factory. Further along the Women's Library occupies premises which retain the frontage of the former wash house. This opened in 1845-7 with a donation of £200 from Queen Victoria and closed in 1989. The library has a programme of events & changing exhibitions as well as research facilities. The first purpose built Board School was erected in this street in 1873.
Return to and continue along
Whitechapel High Street
On the left is the Whitechapel Gallery in an Art Nouveau building of 1897-9 by Charles Harrison Townsend which was endowed by Passmore Edwards (closed Monday). Adjacent is the former library which has tiling in the foyer from a nearby house depicting the local haymarket which lasted until 1928. This building has now been incorporated into the gallery.
Cross and continue along
The small park on the right is on the site of St Mary's Matfelon (the white chapel that gave the area its name). The park was re-named Altab Ali Park and the wrought iron entrance arch made in 1998 in memory of a murdered Bengali. On the corner with Plumbers Row is the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. This was established in Houndsditch in 1420 moving to its present site, which had formerly been that of the 17th century Artichoke Inn, in 1738. It has a small display & shop and offers tours on Saturday mornings (booking essential). A little further along is the East London Mosque.
Go left into Greatorex Street,
left at Chicksand Street, first right at Spelman Street and first
left along Henage Street.
On the opposite side of Brick Lane is an old school building
Cross Brick Lane and continue
along Fashion Street. Cross Commercial Street and go to the left
down Toynbee Street then go right along Wentworth Street
There are market stalls here Mon - Fri 10-2:30 & Sun 9-2. [website]
Go right at Middlesex Street,
left along Harrow Place and right into Cutler Street
Cutlers Gardens to the right were the late 18th century warehouses of the East India Company which were redeveloped by Standard Life in 1978-82.
Continue into Devonshire
One of the remaining mid 18th century houses is occupied by the Cooper's Livery Company. They acquired the premises in 1957 having been bombed out of their previous hall in Basinghall in 1940.
Exit along Devonshire Row
which comes out into Bishopsgate opposite Liverpool Street
The Bishopsgate Institute further along on the right was also designed by C H Townsend. It has a library with a good London collection which is open to the general public [website].
© london-footprints.co.uk 2012
The London Encyclopoedia by Weinreb & Hibbert
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