LFNS: Gates Of Old London
12:00am, Friday 22nd July 2011
Starting at: Wellington Arch
Half time at: Liverpool St Station
Length: 11 miles.
Lead marshal: RichardH
Asbox Transmitter: No
Skate status: Rained Off
Aldgate, Ludgate, Newgate, Aldersgate, Bishopsgate, Moorgate … London Wall? Ever noticed a theme in the naming of central London roads? Mediaeval London was a walled city! It had seven major gates, of which six are today commemorated in the placement and naming of major central London roads – Aldgate St, Ludgate Hill, Newgate St, Aldersgate St, Bishopsgate and Moorgate. The seventh, poor old Cripplegate, doesn’t get much respect these days. It’s remembered with a mere back-alley just a few metres long, in the wrong place and without even a proper street sign. But that don’t fool us…
JOIN US this Friday as LFNS visits the GATES OF OLD LONDON. We’ll take in all seven ‘gate’ streets, plus the real location of the Cripplegate (in what is now Wood St). Thrown in at no extra are the Barbican, London Wall and the Tower of London, plus a few lesser known curiosities: Castle Baynard street, once the site of Castle Baynard, the western counterpart to the Tower of London which was destroyed in the great fire of 1666 and which was a setting for Shakespeare’s Richard III. It’s now a rather cool tunnel. We’ll also scoot past Paternoster square and the arches of Wren’s Temple Bar, the only surviving gate structure of the old city of London, featured in the writings of one Charles Dickens and now pleasantly devoid of the decapitated heads which once adorned it. And keep your eyes open for scattered surviving fragments of the old wall itself!
All this, and a sprint home along the long smooth surfaces of Embankment and Victoria. How could you possibly miss this?
All hyperbole aside, it is a lovely time of year for skating with the city lights glowing in the gloaming and this route does show off a good section of the square mile (all those pretty skyscrapers!) and the river lights down by embankment. We also pass quite a few tourist landmarks. The route is short – only 18km – and not especially fast because it twists and turns a fair bit. It’s more about exploring interesting places than sprinting. If you’ve not done a Friday before, try this one!