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The Gates Of The City Of London

March 18, 2024
by the gentle author

Join me on Easter Monday, April 1st, for THE GENTLE AUTHOR’S TOUR OF THE CITY OF LONDON. Meet me on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral at 2pm. We will walk eastward together through the Square Mile to explore the wonders and the wickedness of the City.



The City Gates As They Appeared Before They Were Torn Down, engraved for Harrison’s History of London 1775


I am delighted to show you this eighteenth century print that I came across in the Spitalfields Market for a couple of pounds with the plangent title “The City Gates As They Appeared Before They Were Torn Down.”

Printed in 1775, this plate recorded venerable edifices that had been demolished in recent decades and was reproduced in Harrison’s History of London, a publication notable for featuring Death and an Hourglass upon the title page as if to emphasise the mutable, ever-changing nature of the capital and the brief nature of our residence in it.


Moorgate (demolished 1761)

Aldgate (demolished 1761)

Bishopsgate (demolished 1760)

Cripplegate (demolished 1760)

Ludgate (demolished 1760)

Newgate (demolished 1767)

Aldersgate (demolished 1617)

Bridgegate (demolished 1762)

Sixteenth century figures of King Lud and his sons that formerly stood upon Ludgate, and stowed ever since in an alley at the side of St Dunstan in the West, Fleet St

You may also like to take a look at

The Gates of Old London

6 Responses leave one →
  1. March 18, 2024

    Love these. The statue of Elizabeth I that was on Ludgate is also now mounted above the entrance to St Dunstan in the West, Fleet St. It is the only surviving statue of the young Elizabeth, and must have met with royal approval.

  2. Jill Wilson permalink
    March 18, 2024

    Very interesting pictures and most of the gate names still exist is some form.

    However I have never heard of Bridge Gate – presumably this was near London Bridge? Does anyone know exactly where it was?

  3. Eve permalink
    March 18, 2024

    Fascinating to think of City gates being locked against the threat of marauders or n’er-do-wells & going to school in Aldgate close to the pump, I often wondered where the gate had stood?

  4. Geoff Nicholls permalink
    March 18, 2024

    You comment about the “mutable, ever-changing nature of the capital “, but six of the gates were pulled down within two years, 1760-1762, which suggests the implemention of a policy decision.

  5. Bernie permalink
    March 18, 2024

    Bridgegate I have never before,in my 91 years, heard of. Where was it? At London bridge perhaps?

  6. Robin Houghton permalink
    March 18, 2024

    My first thought on seeing this was ‘why were they demolished, and why then?’ I then found this:

    “A polemic of 1766 characterised London as ‘inconvenient, inelegant, and without the least pretension to magnificence or grandeur,’ and proposed ‘a general plan for the whole capital’ and schemes for new streets which would eliminate obstructions and open up and connect the city central districts. By this date, however, a general atmosphere of improvement was in the air […]. An Act of 1762 brought paved streets and lighting to Westminster. At the heart of the City, streets and spaces were being opened up, primarily to improve circulation but with some regard for the setting of public buildings. London Bridge was cleared of its houses and made less of a barrier to navigation. The city gates, which under James I had been rebuilt or beautified as powerful expressions of London’s identity were now, with the short-lived exception of Newgate, removed as obstructions to circulation.”

    – from ‘Growth, Modernisation and Control: The Transformation of London’s landscape c. 1500 – 1760’ (Derek Keene)

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