The view of the City of London from the top of the Monument...
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London. It is often referred to as the City or the Square Mile, as it is just over one square mile (1.12 mile² / 2.90 km²) in area. These terms are also often used as metonymies for the United Kingdom's financial services industry, which has historically been based here.
In the medieval period, the City was the full extent of London. The
term London now refers to a much larger conurbation roughly
corresponding to Greater London, a local government area which
includes 32 London boroughs as well as the City of London, which is
not one of the 32 London boroughs. The local authority for the City,
the City of London Corporation, is unique in the United Kingdom, and
has some unusual responsibilities for a local authority in Britain,
such as being the police authority for the City. It also has
responsibilities and ownerships beyond the City's boundaries. The
Corporation is headed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, a
separate (and much older) office to the Mayor of London.
The City is today a major business and financial centre, ranking on a par with New York City as the leading centre of global finance; in the 19th century, the City served as the world's primary business centre. The City has a resident population of approximately 8,000, but around 340,000 people work there, mainly in the financial services sector. The legal profession form a major component of the western side of the City, in and around the Inns of Court, of which two - the Inner and Middle Temples - fall within the City of London boundary.
The Monument stands at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street
Hill in the City of London. It was built between 1671 and 1677 to
commemorate the Great Fire of London and to celebrate the rebuilding
of the City.
The fire began in a baker's house in Pudding Lane on Sunday 2nd September 1666 and finally extinguished on Wednesday 5th September, after destroying the greater part of the City. Although there was little loss of life, the fire brought all activity to a halt, having consumed or severely damaged thousands of houses, hundreds of streets, the City's gates, public buildings, churches and St. Paul's Cathedral. The only buildings to survive in part were those built of stone, like St. Paul's and the Guildhall.
As part of the rebuilding, it was decided to erect a permanent memorial of the Great Fire near the place where it began. Sir Christopher Wren, Surveyor General to King Charles II and the architect of St. Paul's Cathedral, and hisfriend and colleague, Dr Robert Hooke, provided a design for a colossal Doric column in the antique tradition. They drew up plans for a column containing a cantilevered stone staircase of 311 steps leading to a viewing platform. This was surmounted by a drum and a copper urn from which flames emerged, symbolising the Great Fire. The Monument, as it came to be called, is 61 metres high (202 feet) - the exact distance between it and the site in Pudding Lane where the fire began.
City of London view from the Monument