This fluted column is one of the most familiar landmarks in London. It rears its flaming head from Fish Street Hill, close to London Bridge. As every schoolboy knows, the Monument was erected, in 1671-77, to commemorate the Great Fire, which in 1666 had destroyed property valued at between seven and eight millions; and its height, 244 feet, is supposed to represent its distance from the spot in Pudding Lane where the flames first appeared. The column, which was designed by Wren, supports a gilded urn whence issue tongues representing the destroying element A fine view well repays the laborious ascent of the 345 winding steps. The gallery is covered by an iron cage, to prevent suicides. The inscription unjustifiably attributing the fire to Popish treachery and malice has been excised from the pedestal.
source: The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896