London Unveiled

great places to visit off the beaten path.

Temple Bar gateway ~ a reminder of the City’s independence.

Temple Bar was one of the entrances or gates through which people and traffic had to pass to enter the City of London – originally standing where Fleet Street now meets the Strand (by the Temple Law Courts). A bar is first mentioned in 1293, at which time it was probably no more than a chain (or bar) between wooden posts.  The surviving structure is a stone arch completed in 1672 and reputedly designed by Sir Christopher Wren.  It is the only surviving gateway to the City of the original eight because, when it was removed to ease the flow of traffic, it was taken away and re-erected in Theobalds Park. The other gateways, Aldgate, Aldersgate, Bishopsgate, Cripplegate, Ludgate, Moorgate and Newgate, were all demolished before the end of the eighteenth century.

The arch was donated by the Temple Bar Trust to the City of London and this led to its restoration and relocation back to the City. In its new position adjacent to the north west tower of St Paul’s Cathedral, it now forms a pedestrian gateway into the redeveloped Paternoster Square.

It was originally adorned with four royal statues (Charles I, Charles II, James I and Anne of Denmark) carved by John Bushnell and these have now been restored and returned to the four niches on the main elevations of Temple Bar.  In addition new statues depicting the Royal Beasts, City Supporters and associated Coats of Arms (cartouches) were carved. Despite the restoration, 95% of the Temple Bar gateway is original.

The Temple Bar is symbolic and significant to the City of London as it marked the location where the Monarch must stop to be greeted by the Lord Mayor of London – symbolizing the City’s unique historical independence from the crown.  For more information visit the City’s web site: http://goo.gl/ZEMbl

Located at: Paternoster Square, London  EC4M 7DX

Closest tube: St. Paul’s

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This entry was posted on July 30, 2012 by in City of London.
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