16 October 2018

Londinium Visit 12th Oct 2018


Remains of pagan temple at London Mithraneum
Our group of 15 left Edenbridge on the usual 9.09 am train. We were lucky enough to have a really lovely day considering the time of year.

We met our London Blue Badge Tourist Guide, Eve Milner, at London Bridge station. We then walked through the former Victorian warehouses now known as Hay’s Galleria, which took us to the river. Eve talked about how the area would have looked 2000 years ago, the tidal range and the reason why the Romans chose this as their crossing point in 43AD. It would also enable the Romans to remove treasures back to Rome.

On London Bridge there is a silver dragon marking entry into the City of London depicting that Law enforcement ruled in London as this was not the case outside. The south side of the river had been used through the centuries, basically as the City’s dumping ground and pleasure park.

When then crossed the river to the church of  St Magnus the Martyr, where we were able to touch a piece of the Roman London Bridge in the church porch. Inside the church was a very interesting detailed model of the medieval London Bridge, built by Thomas Colechurch. This bridge was completed in about 1200 and lasted until about 1820.

The Roman roads would have lead away from London Bridge to the Roman basilica and forum at the site of the current Leadenhall Market immediately northwards, and Watling Street leading off west towards Wales. We viewed the London Stone which is supposed to be the Roman milestone 0 where distances where calculated from.

We then visited the London Mithraeum - the remains of the Roman pagan temple dedicated to Mithras, newly restored to its original location.

Roman Amphitheatre below Guildhall Art Gallery
I hadn’t realised that London had a Roman Amphitheatre, but sure enough when we went downstairs in the Guildhall Art Gallery we discovered the remains of a vast amphitheatre, which used to accommodate 7,000 spectators at military display shows, some gladiatorial fights, and also the Roman equivalent of bear- or bull-baiting. In fact, the paved area outside The Guild Hall shows the extent of the amphitheatre with an oval of black stones following the site of the ruins below.

From the rear of the Guildhall Art Gallery we took the lovely elevated St Alphege’s Walk which passed some of the remaining Roman London wall by the Salters’ Hall. This walk terminated at the Museum of London where we were able to take a welcome late lunch and then had time to explore the Roman Gallery for a more detailed idea of what daily life was like in Roman Londinium.

We all have a very enjoyable day and our guide was excellent, very friendly and informative.  We would thorough recommend her:
Eve Milner – London Blue Badge Tourist Guide