Although the Monument, which commemorates the Great Fire of 1666, is often attributed to Christopher Wren – who did choose its location 202 feet from the baker’s shop in Pudding Lane where the fire originated – it was almost certainly designed by Robert Hooke, the seventeenth-century polymath who also invented the sash window and spirit level. The area at the base was given a makeover in 2007 and the Corporation of London installed a new pavilion with public toilets and facilities for Monument staff. Those who climb the 311 steps to the top are rewarded with a certificate as well as wonderful views of London and the gilded bronze urn at the top of the tower blazing in reflected glory in the roof of the new pavilion. Following the Monument’s reopening in Feb 2009 after extensive but sensitive restoration, a live video stream of images from the top can be seen by visitors at the base who prefer not to tackle the ascent.
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