In 1235 Pope Gregory IX sent out a book of letters
or 'decretals'. The letters answered questions
the Pope had been asked. They would set out
the way in which members of the church should
behave. The book was decorated and written
This picture comes from a copy of the
book made around 1280. It is of a centaur,
a mythical creature which was half man-half
horse. Centaurs were thought to be fierce
and brave. Sometimes the centaur was
used to represent the figure of Christ
No-one knows how the book came to the City
of London, but religion would have been
central to the lives of the City's medieval
Aldermen in Robes,
The City has many traditions which go back hundreds
of years. It has always been important to wear
robes of office. The robes show respect for the
job. Today Common Councillors wear robes of blue.
Aldermen wear red robes with a fur trim.
The Great Fire
of London, circa 1666
The top picture shows London before the fire.
In the picture below the damage is clear. St
Paul 's Cathedral has no roof. Whole streets
are just piles of dust. Sir Christopher Wren
drew the plan at the bottom. It was his idea
of how London should have been rebuilt.
The Monument commemorates the Great Fire of London
of 1666. It also celebrates the rebuilding of
the City. The Monument was finished in 1677.
It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Dr
Robert Hooke. Monument is nearly 62 meters (202
The Royal Exchange,
The Royal Exchange was first opened in 1566 by
Gresham. Traders from all over the world met here. A group of Asian men can
be seen at the entrance.
The View and
Humours of Billingsgate, 1762
The Market rights of the City of London were
granted by Edward III in 1327. Since then Billingsgate
has always been a lively place, selling all sorts
of goods. It became a fish market in the sixteenth
century. In this amusing picture Oyster sellers
and fishmongers can be seen.
The Common Council
Chamber, Guildhall, 1808
The Court of Common Council is the 'town council' of the City. The members do
not represent any political party. The first elections to the Common Council
happened in 1384. Today elections take place every December.
The Great Hall,
Guildhall is a very important building. It is
the third largest civic hall in England and has
been at the centre of the City community for
years. Many important events take place here, including state banquets.
A woman is looking at an iron fire grate. Another
fire grate is on the floor by the counter. There
is also a coal scuttle, a garden spade and a
heater. The woman has a footman with her which
means she is rich.
Ironmongers' Hall can be seen on the left. Above
the shops are signs. People would look at the
pictures to find out what each shop sold.
The stalls for cattle can be clearly seen. Animals
would have been herded through the streets of
London to get to Smithfield. Names give clues
about activities in London in the past. For example
Cowcross Street, near Farringdon, is a direct
route to Smithfield .