Victorian London - Publications - History - The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896 - Cheapside, with Bow Church, looking West

Cheapside, with Bow Church, looking West - photograph


St. Mary-le-Bow is one of Wren's masterpieces but it is hardly seen to advantage in crowded Cheapside. An earlier church on the same site was borne by stone arches, and this fact is commemorated by the name of the present structure, erected in 1671, after the Great Fire, at a cost of nearly 8,000. The superb tower is 235 feet high; and, according to tradition, only those born within the sound of Bow bells are properly called "cockneys." On the north side of Cheapside is the Mercers' Hall, a reminder that this street, one of the oldest in London, although now almost entirely modernised, was once specially associated with mercers. Cheapside is one of the busiest streets, and blocks of traffic occur in it with irritating frequency.