Esoteric London

No. 1012: Borough High Street, SE1

Posted in Crime and Punishment, Public Art by esotericlondon on January 14, 2014

© Roger Dean RED_6348 copy

Borough High Street, London, SE1. Photo © Roger Dean 2014

Paul Hentzner’s Travels In England, During The Reign Of Queen Elizabeth – Paul Hentzner, 1797:

This city being very large of itself, has very extensive suburbs, and a fort called the Tower, of beautiful structure. It is magnificently ornamented, with public buildings and churches, of which there are above one hundred and twenty parochial.

On the south, is a bridge of stone eight hundred feet in length, of wonderful work; it is supported upon twenty piers of square stone, sixty feet high, and thirty broad, joined by arches of about twenty feet diameter. The whole is covered on each side with houses, so disposed, as to have the appearance of a continued street, not at all of a bridge.

Upon this is built a tower, on whose top the heads of such as have been executed for high treason, are placed on iron spikes: we counted above thirty.

[Just south of the foot of London Bridge, on the junction of Borough High Street with Duke Street Hill, stands a 16m high spike of Portland stone. It was erected by Eric Parry Architects as part of the Southwark Gateway project, around 2000. There is no plaque or inscription, but it is widely believed to be a reminder of the spikes that once held the heads of the likes of Thomas More and Jack Cade high above the traffic travelling to and fro across London Bridge. R.D.]