As Simplicity Designs take a look at Aldgate’s architectural past, join us as we identify some of the area’s listed structures.
Aldgate Pump is a Grade II listed structure located at the junction between Aldgate, Fenchurch Street and Leadenhall Street. With its long and at times dark history, Aldgate Pump holds considerable local cultural significance. Moreover, it is said to mark the symbolic starting point of the East End of London. Adorned with a metal wolf’s head, the miniature statue is said to denote the last wolf hunted in London, marking the end of a chapter in the city’s long history. The earliest depictions of Aldgate Pump date back to the thirteenth century and the reign of King John. Maps dating back to the sixteenth and seventeenth century also show Aldgate Pump, showing it to be a prominent feature of the local architecture over a considerable period of time. Following an event known as the Aldgate Pump Epidemic, in which hundreds of people died, the pump was moved to its current location at the end of the nineteenth century. Since then, it has been disused and serves as an historical feature.
St Andrew Undershaft
Located on St Mary Axe, St Andrew Undershaft is one of Aldgate’s iconic architectural structures. It is a Grade I listed building and is marked by its perpendicular gothic architectural style. Having survived the Great Fire of London and the World War Two Blitz campaign, the current building has stood since the early sixteenth century. Originally, a church stood in the same location since the middle of the twelfth century, but it was rebuilt in the 1400s and finally in 1532. The church features an organ which dates back to 1696 and was installed by Renatus Harris. Improvements were added to the organ, firstly by John Byfield in 1750 and then by George Pike England in 1810 and 1826.
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.