Christopher Wren’s Gateway, Temple Bar

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While exploring St Paul’s Cathedral in London last summer 2013, we walked behind the Cathedral to see what was through the gateway and what a gateway.

Temple Bar is the only surviving gateway into the city of London and is the successor to the 13th century post and chains that mark the boundary between the Liberties of London and the City of Westminster.  The gateway was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and erected in 1672 at the instructions of King Charles II to replace a timber structure which had survived the Great Fire of London.

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Husband posing as a tourist.

The new gatehouse stood at the junction of Fleet Street and The Strand until 1878 when it stared to impede the flow of the traffic.  It was taken down stone by stone, with a view to it being replaced else where in the city.

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Looking back down Fleet Street 1878

Although there was a strong public attachment to the Bar, for many years no place could be found for it in the city.  In 1887 the Brewer Sir Henry Meux acquired the stones from the Corporation of London and rebuilt the Bar as a gateway into his estate at Theobald Park in Hertfordshire.  It was designated a grade one listed building, but over the years had suffered from vandalism and had deteriorated to a great extent.

The Temple Bar Trust came to its rescue and purchased the stones from the Meux Trust after a long campaign and found the site where it now stands.  The Corporation of London resolved to accept the Bar as a gift from the Trust and work began straight away and the work was completed in November 2004.

So really a happy ending for Sir Christopher Wrens Gateway, Temple Bar.

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3 Replies to “Christopher Wren’s Gateway, Temple Bar”

  1. Very interesting – I didn’t know all of this. A magnificent gateway. I’d love to have seen the earlier one, and the city as it then was.

    1. Just image though, the gateway could have been lost…..makes you wonder what else went missing. I find that London has change so much from when I used to visit as a child…..my mother would put us on the train from Portsmouth, aged about 7 with my brother 5 to visit my Uncle who met us off the train in London……you couldn’t do that now and the highest building then was the post office tower, which we use to go up, just to come down in the lift, it use to bounce a floor up before it stopped 🙂

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