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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Domine dirige nos

Lord, direct us - the motto of the City of London or the crie de coer of the hapless tourist, lost in our one maze of one way streets. However, some people took it seriously because (little bit of trivia for non-Londoners, most Londoners probably know this) the City of London is only about 1 square mile in size, and each entrance to the city is signed on the roadside by a gryphon, like this one.

But, who knows which major entrance to the city has a somewhat different marker and a a chequered history? Altogether more challenging. I'll post the follow up in a few days time.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 9

Comments on "Domine dirige nos"


Blogger Bob said ... (11:12) : 

I've no idea, you've stumped me. How many entrances are there?


Blogger Ham said ... (11:17) : 

Bob, I'm refering to the main roads that enter the city as entrances. So, lots :o) This one is from the south side of London Bridge


Blogger Bob said ... (15:58) : 

The gryphon image is curious: That's the Cross of Saint George as well - who's the patron Saint of Catalonia too.


Blogger Andreea said ... (19:59) : 

i'm in london in two weeks and this is all really helpful! will try to see some of the trivia you post about here. another 2 weeks to go :)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (21:48) : 

I've just looked at an Elizabethan map and it has Ludgate, Newgate, Aldersgate, Cripplegate, Moorgate, Bishopsgate and Aldgate going through the wall. There's the Thames as well of course, with an area called Billingsgate. I'm not sure if the Tower of London is part of the City. It has the infamous Traitor's gate.
The other city nearby is Westminster. Surrounding them were green fields!


Blogger Ham said ... (22:57) : 

Andreea - I can also tell you where to get the best stilton! I may even post it here in the next few days.

Tim - you are on the right track, all the old gated entrances are all roads now, and they all have the same type of gryffon, except one.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (17:15) : 

In legend the gryphon was a symbol of superbia (arrogant pride), because Alexander the Great was said to have tried to fly on the backs of gryphons to the edge of the sky. At first it was portrayed as a satanic figure entrapping human souls, the creature later became (from Dante onward) a symbol of the dual nature (divine and human) of Jesus Christ, precisely because of its mastery of earth and sky.

hmmm it's funny how over time conscious idea's change.
my unconscious is telling me the former idea to be correct.


Blogger KaCe said ... (12:54) : 

My sister and I were just in London, for the second time. This trip we spent much more time trying absorb the "london-ness" of the city. We noticed that we were always in other areas, like the City of Westminister, but we couldn't tell when we left one city for another. On the maps there are lots of ....bury's, ... hill's, ...wich's, ... ford's and some heaths. I know what some mean, but others are not as clear. Do you know the naming conventions used? Are they by time periods; such as heaths from the 1500's and ...side's from the 1600's? Names like Barking, Seven Kings, and many other seem like the history might be of interest to visitors. I know I'd enjoy hearing some. I see there is also a Barkingside. The names are so quaint.
We did engage the gatekeeper at the Tower Bridge and learned about the two different crests... one for the City of London and one for the Bridge Keepers (not the offical name, but the group that maintains the bridges and now the rr.) It was all very interesting.


Anonymous Brinda said ... (20:34) : 

I looked up the Latin because I have a teapot - small and not really a teapot although it has a spout - that has the red cross and the motto on the front of it. I thought it was some coat of arms from London. Interesting.


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Name: Ham Location: London, United Kingdom View my complete profile