Helen Stephenson's "Secret London" Walk Pictures, 7th April 2009

This page contains clickable images.

The Sports and Social Club at work organised a walk entitled "Secret London", which took place on Tuesday 7th April after work. We started from our offices in Leadenhall Street and followed a circuitous route which took us through Leadenhall Market, past The Monument, up some narrow alleys behind Gracechurch Street, and finally to The Guildhall.

These pictures were captured using a Pentax K10D digital SLR camera.

If you want to see a larger image of any of these pictures, please click on the picture.

View slideshow Images only (no text) and any animations will be omitted.














We met our guide at our Leadenhall Street offices and started our walk by going just around the corner into Lime Street, where we stood alongside the new Willis Building and looked across to the longer-standing Lloyd's Building. Names such as "Coffee Percolator", "Chemical Factory" and "Refinery" have been applied to this building, which has its services on the outside rather than neatly tucked away. There are two stories of reliefs on the wall of the building next to the Willis Building, and the picture on the left shows our guide in front of part of these reliefs, while the other two pictures are views of the Lloyd's Building.






We proceeded down Lime Street and entered the Leadenhall Market, which is cross shaped with four entrances.


There is a lantern ceiling which is well worth a look at the centre of the cross in Leadenhall Market.

Our guide also pointed out the location used in some of the Harry Potter films as the entrance to The Leaky Cauldron. It is in Bulls Head Passage on the periphery of the Market, and was painted black for the film. It is now an optician's shop and the entrance is blue.


Our next stop was Eastcheap, where we viewed Peek House, now used by the HSBC Bank. Peek House was built for Peek Bros & Co, who were tea, coffee and spice dealers. There is a relief of a Camel Caravan by William Theed II above the entrance to the building.







Also on Eastcheap, but on the opposite side of the road to Peek House, is a building which incorporates a boar's head. It is not exactly on the site of the tavern of that name to which Shakespeare referred in King Henry the Fourth, but is a reminder of that now-missing tavern.


Our walk then took us down towards Lower Thames Street past St Mary at Hill church, and to the ruins of St Dunstan in the East, much of which was destroyed during the Blitz. Only the Christopher Wren tower is still intact. It has been a garden since 1967.





We turned west on Lower Thames Street as our next stop was the recently refurbished Monument to the Great Fire of London in 1666, which is another design by Sir Christopher Wren.





The relief on the west face of the Monument plinth was carved by Caius Gabriel Cibber, who was released during the day from debtor's prison in order to carry out the work. I hope they paid him enough to allow him to leave debtor's prison permanently!




Here are a few close-ups of Cibber's work.





From The Monument, we crossed the busy road junction where Cannon Street, Eastcheap, King William Street and Gracechurch Street meet and we ducked around the corner and walked up Clement's Lane, pausing when we reached Lombard Street to glance down that street at the hanging signs outside the premises in that street.






After crossing Lombard Street, we proceeded up a narrow lane running behind Gracechurch Street, and we stopped to admire the rear of the old Barclays headquarters, which have been empty since Barclays moved to Canary Wharf. The building was designed with the idea of an old-fashioned radio in mind, although at the time when the building was designed, I daresay that such radios weren't old-fashioned at all! I think that this is the best picture I took all evening, but people who have looked at these pictures mostly prefer the picture of the vine-entwined ruined window at St Dunstan in the East.

Close to the location where we stood to view the old Barlays building, there is a plaque commemorating the site of Carraways Coffee House. I snapped our guide as she elaborated about this sign. This isn't the best picture I ever took: the light wasn't great, and I think I relied excessively on the shake reduction feature on my camera!





We walked to the Bank of England junction and around the corner into Walbrook, where we stood outside St Stephen Walbrook. We didn't go inside, although our guide told us that the church is open to the public and worth a visit when time permits.



Our next point of interest was No.1 Poultry, which is a new building. If you look at the reflections in the window of the picture on the right, you will see from the presence of a red crane that No.1 Poultry will not be the last modern building in this vicinity!







We made a little side-trip before walking through No.1 Poultry and visited the Temple of Mithras. This is a Roman temple, and the remains which can be seen were originally 18' lower and have been reconstructed at their current level. There are plans to move them to a better home at some point in the future. No.1 Poultry can be seen across the street from these ruins.


After passing through No.1 Poultry, we stopped in a side street called Frederick's Place, and we viewed the building where Benjamin Disraeli served as an articled clerk in 1821. Apparently they found him a bit too colourful and suggested that he pursue a career elsewhere, which he certainly did, becoming Prime Minister in 1868 and again from 1874-80.




That brought us neatly to The Guildhall, which is pictured on the left. The building in the centre is a modern gallery. It took a long time to complete because important Roman remains were found when excavating for the foundations and an extended period of archaeology ensued. The Roman remains were part of London's amphitheatre, which is believed to extend under The Guildhall itself. There is an extensive courtyard in front of these buildings and an oval line in the courtyard marks where further remains of the amphitheatre are believeed to lie. The picture on the right is the view from the courtyard looking back to the south east, and I just liked it so I took a picture.







Here, some of our group of walkers listen while our guide expands upon the history and architecture of the area. Note the striking paving, which can be seen throughout the courtyard.

That was the end of the walk, and we went our separate ways. I went to Cannon Street to catch a train home, and snapped one final picture prior to boarding my train. It shows Southwark Bridge in silhouette, and if you look closely at the skyline on the left, you can even see a little bit of the top of the London Eye.





Back to top

View slideshow


London Index (Pictures Page)

Pictures Page

Places Links - London Index

Home Page

Webring Page

Last Revised: 12th April, 2009.