When I wander round the City of London ( “the City” or “the Square Mile”) it is always a delight to find remains from our past amongst the hustle and bustle of the modern business centre. Many City workers rush around without seeing their history all around them – I know I was guilty of this when I worked in an office in the City.
However, some things are rather more difficult to spot than others. This remnant of the ancient (originally Roman) city wall is an example. I had known about the existence of this “hidden” section of the wall for a long time but had never seen it. Last week I ventured down into the car park underneath London Wall to find it. Starting near the Museum of London I made my way through the car park, getting some strange looks, but just as I was about to give up there it was!
You can clearly see the Roman building technique with the layers of distinctive red tiles. It would probably have been originally about 3 times as high. This is a reminder that the City was founded nearly 2000 years ago as the Roman city Londinium. Imagine the modern City being completely surrounded by this impressive wall.
There are various more visible chunks of the wall – the most accessible being right next to the entry to Tower Hill tube station. The most inaccessible section is probably that in the bowels of the Central Criminal Court/Old Bailey right next to the holding cells which I was very fortunate to see earlier this month – not, I must point out, as a prisoner!!
Around the City are tantalising glimpses of the original Roman city if you know where to look.
Susan Baker is a qualified City of London Tour Guide who delivers guided walks and private tours in London. View all of Susan’s walking tours.