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St Mary Axe was a medieval parish in Londonmarker whose name survives on the street it formerly occupied, St Mary Axe. The church was demolished in 1561 and its parish united with St Andrew Undershaftmarker, which is on the corner of St Mary Axe and Leadenhall Streetmarker. The name derives from the combination of the church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and a neighbouring tavern, which prominently displayed a sign with an axe image.

The street of St Mary Axe is famous for fronting the Baltic Exchangemarker. Nearby parishes include the medieval Great St Helen'smarker (1210) and the St Ethelburgamarker (14th Century).

'Number 70 St Mary Axe' appears in several novels by the British author Tom Holt as the address of a firm of sorcerers headed by J W Wells (The Portable Door (2003), In your dreams (2004), Earth, Air, Fire and Custard (2005), You Don't Have To Be Evil To Work Here, But It Helps (2006) ). This is itself a reference to Gilbert and Sullivan's The Sorcerer. In the song "My Name Is John Wellington Wells", the lyric renders his address as "Number Seventy Simmery Axe": this reflects the fact that some Londoners have pronounced the street's name as "S'M'ry Axe" rather than enunciating it clearly.

30 St Mary Axemarker ("The Gherkin") is a noted London landmark, built on the site of the bombed Baltic Exchangemarker.

References

  • Ann Saunders, The Art and Architecture of London: An Illustrated Guide (Oxford: Phaidon, 1984), 80.



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