Temple Bar

Site: Temple Bar (5 memorials)

EC4, Paternoster Square

We found the following at Discovering Dickens
"An 18th-century account of it, from Harrison’s New and Universal History, Description and Survey of ... London (1776), gives us both a short history of Temple Bar and a sense of what it would have looked like during the period represented in the novel:
TEMPLE BAR. On the spot where this gate stands, were antiently posts, rails, and a chain, as in other places where the city liberties terminated. Afterwards a wooden house was erected across the street, with a narrow gate-way, and an entry through the south side of it: but, since the fire of London the present structure was erected, and is the only gate remaining {by the time of this account, 1776} at the extremity of the city liberties.

This is a very handsome and noble gate, with a postern on each side for the convenience of foot-passengers. It is built entirely of Portland stone, of rustic work below, and of the Corinthian order. The great arch is elliptical, and very flat, and the whole forms a very elegant appearance. Over the gateway, on the east side, in two niches, are stone statues of queen Elizabeth {we believe this is incorrect and the statue is actually of James's consort, Anne of Denmark} and king James I with the king’s arms over the keystone; and on the west side are the statues of king Charles I and king Charles II in Roman habits.

On this gate, of late years, have been placed the heads of several distinguished characters, who were convicted and executed for treasonable practices against their king and country. But not any of them are now remaining."

With the Temple Bar in its new location the statues are arranged as follows:
On the north face:
North face, to the left - Anne of Denmark
North face, to the right - King James I
South face, to the left - King Charles I
South face, to the right - King Charles II

What is it with theses monarchs - they won't look you in the eye? Except for Charles II, and he is looking exceptionally ugly. These four statues are the originals. Other carvings on the monument had been lost and were recreated by Tim Crawley as part of the 2004 restoration.

Note: the tall column at the centre of the Square carries no inscription but is rumoured to be a memorial to the 20,000 or 6 million (numbers vary, and how can anyone know anyway?) books lost in the London Blitz, this being a centre of the printing trade at the time. We can find no official statement of this and will not honour the monument with its own entry in London Remembers until we do. The 23 metre column was designed by the architects for the whole Square, Whitfield Partners, and it is said to be a recreation of one of the Inigo Jones columns on the previous St Paul’s Cathedral, lost in the Great Fire. More functionally, it cleverly conceals a ventilation shaft to the service road below.

This section lists the memorials located at this site:
Temple Bar