Great Expectations. Museum of London. A Tale of Two Cities. Little Britain.
Continue to the end of Noble Street, go right along Gresham Street and at the end turn right onto Aldersgate Street. You might like to make a detour to the Museum of London, which is clearly visible ahead of you.
The Museum of London. ‘When a man is tired of London he is tired of life’, said Dr Johnson, and the same could be said of this magnificent museum, which tells the story of London from pre-Roman times to the present day. The museum has a small Dickensian display on its lower level that includes the chair in which Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities (1859). On the same level there is a reconstruction of part of Newgate Prison; the Porter’s Lodge from Furnival’s Inn; and a ‘Victorian Walk’ containing shop fronts, pubs, and other 19th-century businesses. Remains from all phases of London’s past are on display.
Presuming that you haven’t visited the museum cross Aldersgate Street by the crossing and go through the gate to the left of St Botolph’s Church (one of three city churches dedicated to a medieval patron Saint of travellers. All three stand next to the site of a city gate - in this case Aldersgate). The gate admits you to Postman’s park where you should cross over to the small porch with the terra cotta roof that stands opposite. This is:-
The National Memorial to Heroic Men and Women. The idea for such a monument was conceived by the painter and sculptor George Frederick Street in 1887. The wall inside the porch was finally dedicated in 1900, and bears numerous plaques that commemorate selfless acts of heroism by ordinary men and women who gave their lives attempting to save the lives of others. People like ‘Alice Ayres, daughter of a bricklayers labourer, who by intrepid conduct saved three children from a burning house in Union Street, Borough at the cost of her own young life.’ Or even John Cranmer, aged 23,a clerk in the London County Council who was drowned off Ostend whilst saving the life of a stranger and a foreigner.’
Continue through Postman’s park and exit it via the gates opposite those through which you entered. Go over the crossing and turn right. Keep ahead along Little Britain.
It was here in what Pip, in Great Expectations, described as ‘a gloomy street’ that the lawyer Mr Jaggers had his office. The street still warrants this description. It is lined by assorted buildings of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London’s oldest hospital to still stand on its original site.