The Roman Ruins Under Leadenhall Market

In one of the most picturesque areas of The City, there’s a hidden, ancient, secret. Did you know you can find Roman ruins under Leadenhall Market?

Roman Ruins Under Leadenhall Market

On the corner of Gracechurch Street and Leadenhall Market you’ll find an unassuming hairdressers.

Roman Ruins Under Leadenhall Market

Ask nicely and one of the staff will show you down some stairs to the lower floor.

At this point you might need to lower your expectations, but – trust me – the sheer weirdness of the setting is worth the trip.

Roman Ruins Under Leadenhall Market

Past the old fashioned hairdresser chairs and behind a glass door you’ll find the Roman ruins, a solid-looking hunk of well-made brick wall.

Roman Ruins Under Leadenhall Market
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What is it?

This the pier is part of a support for the Basilica, a building that housed the Roman town hall and law courts. It was built around 70AD and was enlarged between 90-120AD making it the largest building of its kind North of The Alps!

Roman Ruins Under Leadenhall Market

Image from the Museum of London where you can see this model in their Roman galleries

Londinium was founded around 50AD and lasted over 400 years as the centre of administration and trade for Roman Britain. The basilica to which this ruin belongs is the tallest part at the back of the Museum of London model and the larges courtyard is the forum; a market and meeting place with permanent shops and offices.

It’s very hard to imagine this huge complex on the site of the sprawling City of London, but even weirder is the fact that the basilica was taller than the present day St Paul’s Cathedral!

These remains were discovered when Leadenhall was being constructed (1880-82) and they’re now the only visible parts of what was once a huge section of Roman London life.

More Roman Tidbits

Throughout The City there’s evidence of Roman life and one of my favourite places is the Guildhall. Ignore the building in front of you though, it’s the floor that holds the key to finding Londinium’s version of the colosseum!

Roman Ruins Under Leadenhall Market

Discover more

Explore the City secrets hiding in plain sight on my City walking tour; a 90 minute stroll through the Square Mile’s hidden alleyways, meeting the heroes, villains and martyrs of London

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