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An extraordinary Londoner; a touching tribute

An extraordinary Londoner; a touching tribute

Jan 4th, 2002, 11:26 AM
wes fowler
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An extraordinary Londoner; a touching tribute

John Stow, a tailor by trade, lived in London in the late 1500s. He became interested in the historical buildings in the city at that time and spent the better part of his life walking London's streets and recording his impressions of the buildings, their origins and histories, their occupants and their professions, the people in the streets, their mode of dress and their occupations. In essence, he captured and documented London as it appeared at the end of the Tudor period and left us with a lasting impression of a London now lost.

Stow's tomb is in the church of St. Andrew Undershaft near Leadenhall Market at the corner of St. Mary Axe. His effigy is placed on top of his tomb and in his right hand, there's a quill pen.

Each year, in late March or early April, in recognition of his contribution to the histories of London, the Lord Mayor and an emminent historian visit his tomb. They do so in order to ceremoniously replace the quill pen in the effigy's hand and to acknowledge the city's indebtedness to Stow for his extraordinary effort in capturing the essence of London in a former time.

I found mention of this charming bit of tradition in Peter Ackroyd's wonderful book, "London, A Biography". It's a book I highly recommend to anyone interested in London, its history, customs and traditions.
Jan 4th, 2002, 11:34 AM
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Very interesting, Wes. Here's a picture of the monument:

Jan 4th, 2002, 11:37 AM
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Thank you, wes.C
Jan 5th, 2002, 02:37 AM
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I'd like to second Wes's recommendation of Peter Ackroyd's 'London: The Biography'. I've just finished reading it and I shall spend much of the next year exploring remote parts of my hometown which have been brought to life in such an amazing way.
Jan 5th, 2002, 06:33 AM
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Wes:Thank you.
I visited the church last month, it is a somber little place.
Jan 7th, 2002, 05:33 AM
Wes Fowler
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Thank you, Jahoulih, for including the reference to the photo of Stow's monument. Sort of brings the story to a neat conclusion.

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