The Monument

Posted on June 23, 2013 by Richard Hoptroff

Fish Street Hill, London, 23 June 2013

When I lived in Paris, I made a point of taking the stairs up the Tour Eiffel every Monday morning.  I could usually run up to the first floor, but then had to walk up to the second.  (There is no public access by stairs to the very top.)

So today, when I felt I was being a bit too sedentary, seated at a desk designing our designing our latest watch movement, I decided to cross London Bridge and walk up the Monument.

The monument is a huge Doric column designed by Wren and Hooke.  It was completed in 1677 to commemorate the rebuilding of the City of London after the great fire of 1666.  What is not so well known is that it was originally intended to serve also as a scientific instrument: a vertical telescope to observe the zenith transit of stars, to see if they moved.  Unfortunately, the column itself moved too much for the experiments to be successful. 

In my lifetime it has also proved itself a useful piece of test equipment.  Just about every first date I have had involved taking a girl up the Monument.  If she moaned about it, there was no second date.

Below a photo taken from the top.  The arrow shows where our workshops are, on the south bank of the Thames.

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