What’s happened to dirty old London? I’ve been working in and around the place for the worst part of 30 years and I’m forced to admit it’s getting better. Stumble across Paternoster Square and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in some other grand European capital. It’s a bright, buzzy place, surrounded by investment banks (everybody’s got to be somewhere), the London Stock Exchange, restaurants and shops. And, if you hadn’t guessed or didn’t know, St Paul’s Cathedral is a neighbour; ‘Pater noster’ means our father.
Once a livestock market, centre for the publishing trade, flattened in the Blitz and (apparently) subsequently unloved, the redeveloped Paternoster Square was fully opened for business in 2004. It’s dominated by the 21st century 23 metre high Paternoster Square Column, which gives more than a nod to Wren and The Monument – it’s even topped off with a flaming urn; and, ingeniously, it doubles as a ventilation shaft. On the far side, you might spot Temple Bar – Wren’s 17th century gate that once stood on Fleet Street marking the western boundary of the City of London.
The redevelopment was by the Mitsubishi Estate Co. Interestingly and, for some, controversially, the open space is privately owned – which means you have no right to be there.
Be a rebel when you go; leave the Armani at home and wear something from M&S.