Old Images of Aldersgate, City of London

Categorised as City of London, London
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Glimpse the past through old images of Aldersgate, in the City of London.

Aldersgate was a gate in the northern part of London’s defensive city walls. It was added during the later Roman period, into the city walls which had been built around 200AD.

The first known mention of it calles the gate Ealdredesgate, a gate named after a man with the Saxon name Ealdrād.

Aldersgate was also the name of one of the wards of London, which were administrative, judician and military bodies established before the Norman Conquest of England and Wales in 1066. Not surpringly, this ward’s role was to defend the Aldersgate, and some of the land within the city walls.

Later, the population grew beyond the city walls, and the ward did too. Aldersgate Bars, which mark the boundary beyond the walls, were first recorded in 1197.

The two parts became known as Aldersgate Within, for the land within the city walls, and Aldersgate Without, for the land beyond the walls.

Aldersgate Road ran through Aldersgate Without, and was the road to Clerkenwell.

John Blytone, earliest sword-bearer of the City of London, resigned from the service of the Lord Mayor of London in 1395. He was granted the “Gate of Aldrichgate” to live in.

James VI of Scotland inherited the English crown in 1603. Coming down from Scotland for his coronation as King James I of England, he entered the city of London through Aldersgate. Special statues were created to welcome him. The statues outside the city walls showed him on horseback, while the ones inside portrayed him sitting on the throne.

In 1617, Aldersgate was taken down, and rebuilt the same year. Gerard Christmas designed the new gate.

Repairs were needed in 1666, when the Great Fire of London damaged the gate.

In 1761, the gate was again removed.

From the 18th Century, the Bishop of London’s chapel was located in Aldersgate Street , along with his chambers at London House. The site was more conveniently placed for access to St Paul’s Cathedral than the official Bishop’s Residence at Fulham.

Lost Buildings of Aldersgate

  • Collegiate church and sanctuary founded in 750 by Withu, King of Kent, hugely expanded in 1056 by Ingebrian, Earl of Essex, issued with a royal charter in 1068 by William the Conqueror; demolished in 1818 for the headquarters of the General Post Office
  • Headquarters of the General Post Office; built in the late 1820s and demolished shortly after its closure in 1910
  • Adjoining Postman’s Park
  • World War II bombs destroyed or damaged most buildings on Aldersgate Street
  • Manchester Hotel, 240 rooms, built in 1879, used to house Jewish refugees from Poland and Belgium; demolished after damage from World War II bombs

While the walls, gate, and historic buildings have long since disappeared, Aldersgate today is home to the Barbican, making it one of the two primarily residential wards in the City of London, a central part of the modern capital city.

Multi Storey Garage 1961

In 1961, a new multi storey garage was opened in Aldersgate Street, and the opening day was recorded on film.

Much of the footage focuses on William Meyers, the owner, and Lord Mayor Sir Waley Cohen who arrives in a Rolls Royce.

There are also glimpses of the other people attending the opening event. There’s quite a few of them.

However, the rooftop views catch the eye, especially at 2:38.

And the price list is good for a chuckle. Most of it, being in old money, makes no sense to anyone under their mid-50s. But we can all spot the monthly offer of £5 for an unrestricted parking permit!

Multi-Storey Garage Opened At Aldersgate Street (1961) – British Pathé on YouTube

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