A little known section of Roman Wall near St Paul’s Cathedral is to become considerably easier to visit after approval was granted to refurbish the building that sits above it.
An important scheduled monument, this section of the Roman Wall and a Medieval Bastion were discovered in the 1900s, and although they were saved from demolition, they were preserved in a locked basement. In the late 1990s, the building was redeveloped, and the monument was exposed again as part of the development.
For about the past 20 years, if you knew, it’s been available to visit, but by appointment only.
The owner of the office block now has plans to split the building into two while refurbishing the block that sits above the monument, and they plan to make the monument much easier to visit as a free public museum.
At the moment, the monument is accessed via a fire escape staircase, and there are some modest wall signs to tell its history, and the monument sits within a metal wall lined space. Personally, I really like the contrast between modern and ancient, but it is quite a narrow space to let that many people in.
They plan to remove the metal wall, which will widen the space around the monument, and then put refreshed information panels on the wall along with archaeological exhibits in cases. There will also be a feature wall with more displays on the ground floor, designed to be seen outside when the office is closed.
I hadn’t noticed this on my previous visit, but there is a lift down to the basement, so it is accessible to people with mobility issues.
The plan is that the monument will be open to the public during office hours Monday to Friday and on Saturday mornings, and the new design of the building will make it visible from the outside when the office is closed.
Externally, the small courtyard/garden will be refurbished, and as part of the design, the a modern light strip will run above the ground, showing the presumed path that the lost section of the Roman Wall would have followed.
Overall, the plans, which were recently approved by the City of London, will make one of London’s more impressive-looking sections of Roman Wall much easier to visit and also make the visit more interesting to the public with the additional displays and information signs.
Although on a smaller scale, it should look not too dissimilar to the newish display of the City Wall at Vine Street, which opened earlier this year.