In September of 1666 the Great Fire of London wiped out the medieval heart of the great city. The inferno blazed for days through the narrow streets of Old London before it finally burned itself out. Visitors in budget hotels near the Monument of London can stand near the spot where one of the worst disasters in English history began. The blaze started in Pudding Lane. Sir Christopher Wren, one of England’s most famous architects, designed a monument that was built between 1671 and 1677. It is 202 feet (61 m) from the spot where the fire started. That is also the exact height of the column. An internal winding stairway of 311 steps takes you to a viewing platform near the top.
The spot upon which your discount hotel near the Monument of London now stands was probably in the midst of the 1666 conflagration. The impact that the calamity had upon the people of 17th century London is evident in the fluted column of Portland Stone. It is still the tallest isolated stone column in the world, and provides spectacular views of Kent and Essex. Relief sculptures around the base of the column show King Charles II rebuilding the city. A flaming urn of copper at the top symbolizes the Great Fire.