The Roman Wall in a City of London Car Park
London is full of surprises and often you stumble upon them them in the most uninspiring places. For example last week I discovered a bit of Roman Wall in a Car Park!
A bit of context…
In around 200AD the Romans built a huge wall around their settlement; Londinium. Amazingly, we can still see parts today. The most impressive being the tall section outside Tower Hill tube station;
View this post on Instagram
But if you’re feeling intrepid (and want to find a bit that hardly anyone knows about) you need to head to the aptly named street London Wall.
Beneath the current Museum of London is London Wall Car Park.
And you’ll need to walk a fair way along the bays until you reach 52.
And then there it is! Looking a bit unloved but pretty impressive, the concrete walls awkwardly fitted around it.
Get a good look because you can see the fabulous lines of red tiles, typical of the Roman construction. Quite why they did this isn’t known for sure, but theories range from decoration, to keeping it straight and to prevent water seeping through.
This section is part of a fort (above ground nearby sits The Barbican whose word means fortified outpost) and construction started around 110AD. Amazingly, considering how little remains here, this fort could house 1,000 soldiers. You have to bear in mind though that this is just a connected wall.
Other parts of the fort still survive but aren’t on public display. However, The Museum of London occasionally runs tours and you can read more about that section here.
It was discovered in 1957 when the road above was being dug out. Here’s hoping it stays on public display for many more centuries to come!
How to Find it
Not as easy as it sounds, I only found it on my second attempt, so here’s my advice for when you try.
Along London Wall you want to head for the existing parts of the Roman Wall above ground, very close to the current Museum of London.
In the map above, X number 1. marks the pedestrian entrance. While X number 2. marks the sloping entrance for cars. You can walk down that way but for safety I’d advise taking the steps. They do look a little grim though!
Below is a google street view of the entrance to the steps. There are multiple exits from the car park but I think it’s easiest to access from here.
For further reference, below is the view a little to the right, showing the vehicle entrance to the car park.
More London Inspiration
It's easy to overlook this little building, smooshed between two new blocks of flats with four lanes of traffic rumbling past. But it's a rare historic survivor......