As the site of one of the gates to the City of London, Aldgate is an area full of history, character and impressive architecture. Historians believe that the gate at Aldgate was originally constructed by the Romans, around the time the London Wall was erected. Between 1108 and 1609, the gate was rebuilt several times. However, in 1761 it was finally removed and temporarily re-constituted in Bethnal Green. During periods of redevelopment, the gate at Aldgate featured in the area’s landscape as an architectural marvel. However, it did also successfully fulfil defensive functions and was only breached a total of two times, over the course of its history.
As a central location and one of London’s most historic districts, Aldgate was home to some of the city’s most impressive architectural marvels. Founded in 1108 by Queen Matilda of England, the wife of King Henry I, the Holy Trinity Priory was one of Aldgate’s important early landmarks. Queen Matilda maintained close links with the priory at Aldgate. Moreover, during the 12th century it developed into an important centre of learning under the stewardship of Prior Peter of Cornwall. However, in 1532 the priory was dissolved, upon its return to King Henry VIII of England. Today, some pointed arches from the priory’s original architecture remain, incorporated into the office building on the corner of Aldgate and Mitre Street.
St Botolph’s Church Aldgate is a Grade I listed building located on Aldgate High Street. The church was originally built in 1115 and in it was completed in its current form in the 18th century. Having survived the Great Fire of London, it was completely rebuilt between 1741 and 1744. In the 19th century, the church’s interior was revamped, under the direction of John Francis Bentley, a doyen of British architecture. During the Blitz campaign of the Second World War, the church was extensively damaged by Nazi bombardment.