Temple Bar Gate: History and Significance of Dublin’s Iconic Landmark

London’s Temple Bar Gate is a historical landmark that has been witness to over 700 years of London’s history. Located in Paternoster Square, the baroque gate is a hidden gem that many visitors to the area might miss. It is a fascinating piece of architecture that has a complicated history, having been moved from its original location in Temple and even serving as a private tea room in Hertfordshire at one point.

In this article, readers will discover the intriguing story of Temple Bar Gate and how it came to be where it is today. They will learn about the gate’s rich history and why it is worth a visit. Additionally, practical information about visiting the landmark will be provided to ensure that readers have all the information they need to plan their visit.

Key Takeaways

  • Temple Bar Gate is a historic landmark in London with a rich and complicated history.
  • Visitors to the area should make sure to seek out the gate and explore its unique architecture.
  • Practical information about visiting the landmark is available to help readers plan their visit.

Why Visit Temple Bar Gate?

Temple Bar Gate offers visitors a unique opportunity to witness a slice of London’s history. Designed by Christopher Wren, the gate is a great example of his work beyond religious structures. The gate’s quirky story adds to its charm and makes for an interesting visit.

The History of Temple Bar Gate

The Original Bar

The Temple Bar Gate, situated where the Strand ends and Fleet Street begins in the Temple area of London, has a long and storied history. The first recorded mention of the structure was in 1293 when it was nothing more than a simple barrier between two pickets. However, it would later become a paid-in-full structure with its own prison. The gate played host to many notable events, such as the passing of triumphant kings, the entrance of Mary Tudor and Phillip of Spain after their marriage, and the march of Queen Elizabeth I after the Spanish Armada.

Wren’s Bar

In the 1600s, the Temple Bar Gate became associated with one of the most prominent names in London history: Sir Christopher Wren. After the Great Fire of 1666, Wren was tasked with rebuilding many of London’s important buildings, including the Temple Bar Gate. No expense was spared in its reconstruction, with the finest Portland stone and four kingly statues, including Charles II, Charles I, Queen Anne of Denmark, and James I. Although gorgeously decorated, the gate was also used to display bad folks’ heads on stakes, a longstanding London tradition that ended in 1746 with the execution of Towneley and Fletcher for plotting rebellion.

Moving the Bar

By the 1870s, London’s population was growing, and traffic on its streets was becoming increasingly congested. The Royal Courts of Justice had been slated for expansion, and the Temple Bar Gate was in the way. The Corporation of London had the gate taken down brick by numbered brick and put into storage until they could work out what to do with it. In its place, they erected the Temple Bar Memorial that can still be seen today out front of the Royal Courts of Justice.

Lady Meux’s Intent

The stones of the Temple Bar Gate lay in storage for about eight months before catching the eye of Lady Meux, who had them brought to her Hertfordshire estate at Theobalds Park. Lady Meux was a former barmaid who had married a wealthy brewer, Sir Henry Meux, and was eager to elevate her status. She reconstructed the gate on her estate, where she threw garden parties and dined with distinguished guests, including Edward VII and Winston Churchill.

The Bar Today

In 1976, the Temple Bar Trust was formed by the Corporation of London to decide how to bring the gate back to London. It wasn’t until 2001, after several Livery Companies provided funding, that the gate was dismantled and shifted for the second time. Today, the Temple Bar Gate can be seen in Paternoster Square in the City of London, its present home.

Temple Bar Gate: Practical Information

  • Address: Paternoster Lodge, 2 Paternoster Sq., London EC4M 7DX
  • Opening Times: The gate is accessible at all times, but visitors are not permitted to enter the upper room.
  • Website: N/A