Antique print from the 1720 edition of John Stow’s Survey of The Monument to the Great Fire of London, more commonly known simply as the Monument, a Doric column in the City of London, near the northern end of London Bridge, that commemorates the Great Fire of London. It stands at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill, 202 ft (62 m) tall and 202 ft (62 m) from the spot in Pudding Lane where the Great Fire started on 2 September 1666. Another monument, the Golden Boy of Pye Corner, marks the point near Smithfield where the fire was stopped. Constructed between 1671 and 1677, it was built on the site of St. Margaret’s, Fish Street, the first church to be burnt down by the Great Fire. The Monument comprises a fluted Doric column built of Portland stone topped with a gilded urn of fire. It was designed by Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. Its height marks its distance from the site of the shop of Thomas Farriner (or Farynor), the king’s baker, where the Great Fire began.
John Stow was born in about 1525 in the City parish of St Michael, Cornhill, then at the heart of London’s metropolis. His father, Thomas Stow, was a tallow chandler. Thomas Stow is recorded as paying rent of 6s 8d per year for the family dwelling, and as a youth Stow would fetch milk every morning from a farm on the land nearby to the east owned by the Minoresses of the Convent of St. Clare. Stow did not take up his father’s trade of tallow chandlery, instead becoming an apprentice, and in 1547 a freeman, of the Merchant Taylors’ Company, by which stage he had set up business in premises close to Aldgate Well, close to Leadenhall Street and Fenchurch Street. In about 1560 he started upon his major work, the Survey of London. About 10 years later he moved to the parish of St Andrew Undershaft in the Ward of Lime Street, where he lived in comfortable surroundings until his death in 1605. The work for which Stow is best known is his Survey of London (original spelling: A Survay of London), published in 1598, which is of unique value for its detailed account of the buildings, social conditions and customs of London in the time of Queen Elizabeth I. He published a second revised edition in 1603. Following his death, a third edition, with additions by Anthony Munday appeared in 1618; a fourth by Munday and Dyson in 1633; a fifth with interpolated amendments by John Strype in 1720; and a sixth by the same editor in 1754. In the century following Stow’s death, however, the London described and recorded in Stow’s Survey was dramatically changed. Metropolitan growth, the Fire of 1666 and the rebuilding of the City made an updating of the Survey necessary. This task was undertaken by John Strype (1643-1737), who published an enlarged version of Stow’s Survey in 1720, further updated in 1754-1756.