The Monument, one of the City of London’s most outstanding landmarks and visitor attractions, will close on 30 July for an 18-month programme of improvements and repairs.
The £4.5 million project, funded by the City of London Corporation, will involve the cleaning and repair of the Monument’s stonework and the re-gilding of it’s famous golden orb. A range of new and improved facilities will be created such as a modified gallery “cage”, new lighting and, for people who do not want to climb the 311 stairs to the top, there are plans for live views to be relayed from the gallery to visitors on the ground.
Sir Christopher Wren’s flame-topped Monument to the Great Fire of 1666 is the tallest isolated stone column in the world. Completed in 1677, The Monument stands 202 ft high and is positioned 202 ft from the spot in Pudding Lane on which the Great Fire is believed to have started. Every year, over 100,000 visitors climb the 311 spiral steps to the Monument’s observation gallery to enjoy unique and exhilarating views across the Capital.
Repairs to The Monument have been carried out approximately every hundred years, with work last undertaken in 1888. The Monument is scheduled to re-open to visitors when the restoration work is completed in December 2008.
Pauline Halliday, Chief Commoner and Chairman of the City of London’s City Lands Committee, which is responsible for the Monument, said: “I am delighted that work will soon be underway to protect and enhance this historical landmark for current and future generations of visitors to the City of London”.
The restoration work will be carried out by Cathedral Works Organisation (Chichester) Ltd, which successfully completed the relocation of Temple Bar in 2004 for the City of London Corporation. Hare & Humphreys Ltd will be re-gilding the flaming orb this spring, restoring its brilliant shine with the application of over 30,000 leaves of gold.
The restoration is being filmed and photographed by Harris Digital Productions, who have set up the website www.themonument.info to show work in progress and updated information about the project.