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Aldgate was the easternmost gateway through London Wall leading from the City of Londonmarker to Whitechapelmarker and the east end of Londonmarker. Aldgate gives its name to a ward of the City. This is bounded by White Kennet Street in the north and Crutched Friars in the south, taking in Leadenhallmarker and Fenchurch Streetsmarker, which remain principal thoroughfares through the City of Londonmarker, each splitting from the fifty-metre street named Aldgate that connects to Aldgate High Street.

There are only two buildings on the street. To the north is Sir John Cass's school, where a plaque records the former placement of London Wall. To the south is AXA's UK head office, a French insurance company.


The ward is bounded on the east by the line of the former City wall, which separates it from Portsokenmarker ward; it is bounded on the south by Tower-streetmarker ward; and on the west and north by Langbournmarker, Limestreetmarker, and Bishopsgatemarker wards.


An old illustration of the gate circa 1650
It is thought that a gate at Aldgate was already spanning the road to Colchester in the Roman period, when the City Wall itself was constructed. The gateway stood at the corner of the modern Duke's Place; and was always an obstacle to traffic. It was rebuilt between 1108-47, again in 1215, and reconstructed completely between 1607 and 1609. The gate was finally removed in 1761; it was temporarily re-erected at Bethnal Greenmarker. The name is derived from Ale-gate, literally open to all, because, unlike at all other city entrances, no tolls were exacted at this gate. The form, Aldgate, does not occur until 1486 or 1487.

While he was a customs official, from 1374 until 1386, Geoffrey Chaucer occupied apartments above the gate. The Augustinian Priory of Holy Trinity Aldgatemarker was founded by Queen Matilda, the wife of Henry I, in 1108, on ground just inside the gate.

Within Aldgate ward, a short distance to the north of the gate, Jews settled, beginning in 1181, until their expulsion in 1290 by Edward I. The area became known as Old Jewry. Jews were welcomed back by Oliver Cromwell, and once again they settled in the area, building London's oldest synagogue at Bevis Marksmarker in 1698.

In about 1420, the Whitechapel Bell Foundrymarker was founded in Aldgate, but it later moved to nearby Whitechapelmarker. The foundry continued to supply bells to churches in the city, including the rebuilt church of St Botolph Without Aldgatemarker in 1744.

At the junction of Aldgate, Leadenhall Street, and Fenchurch Street, stood Aldgate Pumpmarker. From 1700, it was from this point that distances were measured into the counties of Essex and Middlesexmarker. The original pump was taken down in 1876, and a 'faux' pump and drinking fountain was erected several yards to the west of the original; it was supplied by water from the New Rivermarker. In ancient deeds, Alegate Well is mentioned, adjoining the City Wall, and this may have been the source [of water] for the original pump. A section of the remains of Holy Trinity Priory can be seen through a window in a nearby office block, on the north side.

In 1773, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral by Phillis Wheatley, the first book by an African American was published in Aldgate after her owners could not find a publisher in Bostonmarker.

Daniel Mendoza, was born in 1764 to a Jewish family in Aldgate. He was author of The Art of Boxing and became English Boxing Champion from 1792 to 1795.

Aldgate is one of 25 ward in the City of Londonmarker, each electing an Alderman, to the Court of Aldermen and Commoners (the City equivalent of a Councillor) to the Court of Common Council of the City of London Corporation. Only electors who are Freemen of the City of London are eligible to stand.

The area around the large traffic roundabout to the East of where the gate stood, is also often referred to as Aldgate (although strictly, this is Aldgate High Street, and extends a short distance into Whitechapelmarker, it is also known occasionally by the epithet 'Gardiners' Corner', in honour of a long disappeared department store).


St Katherine Cree
The ward is dominated by the insurance industry, and prominent buildings include the Gherkinmarker (2005) in St Mary Axemarker, Lloyds Register and the London Metal Exchangemarker. Also within the ward are three churches; St Botolph's Aldgatemarker also St Katherine Creemarker (1631) and St Andrew Undershaftmarker (1532) - both of which are administered from St Helen'smarker in Lime Street wardmarker. There is also the synagoguemarker (1699) at Bevis Marksmarker.

On 10 April 1992 the Provisional IRA detonated a bomb close to the Baltic Exchangemarker, severely damaging the historic building and neighbouring structures. The Gherkinmarker now occupies this site.

See also

The nearest London Underground station is Aldgatemarker on the Circle and Metropolitan Lines.


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