City of London (poem)

In Year 43, the folks from Rome
Decided to call 'Londinium' home.

They settled on a site on a hill near a river
In a place that’s so cold, it caused them to shiver.

They built loads of roads and a temple or two.
They built and they built, but before they were through,

Queen Boudicca attacked and left thousands dead!
But the Romans survived it, because they all fled.

The Romans built a wall after that episode
To keep out invaders and to protect their gold.

Around Year 400, the Romans left – every single one!
They must’ve missed the Italian sun!

Next into town, the Anglo-Saxons came
And decided ‘Lundenwic’ would be the new name.

In 851, the Danes rowed into town
And burnt the City right to the ground!

Those Vikings attacked, in battle after battle
Which caused London Bridge to shake and to rattle.

Of course, as you know, London Bridge did fall down,
And then 'Lundenburgh' became the name of this town.

Under the Danes, the City grew powerful and rich.
After them came Edward, then in 1066,

William conquered England, but the City kept its power.
That's why he had to build the White Tower!

(The king needed the City to be rich, you see,
But he guarded his power jealously!)

We'll have to skip over a few hundred years,
Or else we won't finish the poem, m'dears!

The 17th century was a chaotic time,
Which probably deserves its very own rhyme!

To give you an idea, here’s a brief overview:
There was religious unrest, and a black plague or two.

England was at war, and the King lost his head,
And then one night, while baking the bread,

In Pudding Lane, a spark ‘came a blaze
Which ignited the City and burned for days.

After the Great Fire of 1666,
There wasn’t much left, just rubble and sticks.

The fire destroyed churches and ‘most every guild.
And afterwards, there was nothing to do but rebuild.

Sir Christopher Wren was given the duty
Of restoring the City to its former beauty.

At the end of that century, in 1694,
The King built the Bank to finance his war.

By the time Victoria ascended the throne.
London had grown and grown and grown.

Workers were living further away,
So they traveled into the City each day.

They walked in on foot, they rode in by horse,
And when trains were invented, they used those, of course!

Traffic was a mess, no matter the hour,
And they needed a bridge that was east of the Tower.

Horace Jones came up with a stunning design,
And eight years later Tower Bridge came on line.

Through fires and wars, the City's survived.
It's endured, it's grown and yes, it has thrived.

The next time you walk around the Square Mile,
You'll see plenty of sights that will make you smile.

To help you remember, here's a quick City guide:
The Bank of England, which has gold inside,

The Old Bailey, which condemns and forgives,
The Mansion House, where the Lord Mayor lives,

The Guildhall and its mythical giants,
The Monument, secretly designed to do science,

And on top of a hill, the most beautiful of all,
Is the splendid Cathedral of St Paul.

And if you look closely, you may just see
The Roman Wall built in AD 70. 

(For Now!)

Copyright © 2010 Guy Fox History Project Limited. All rights reserved.