The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Robert Finch officially opens the Temple Bar Gateway on Wednesday 10th November 2004. Large crowds gathered to witness the opening in Paternoster Square opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral.
SPEECH BY LORD MAYOR ALDERMAN ROBERT FINCH AT THE OPENING OF TEMPLE BAR
WEDNESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2004
PATERNOSTER SQUARE, LONDON
Chief Commoner, Fellow Aldermen, Sheriffs, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Chief Commoner, thank you for your words of welcome. It is an honour and a great pleasure to be here today to witness the return of Temple Bar to the City after some 127 years exile.
Today’s ceremony marks the final fulfilment of the resolution by the Court of Common Council in 1877.
And it is a personal moment for me as I think back to dedicating the “opening stone” here at the very beginning of my mayoralty.
And I know that you will agree with me in saying just how magnificent it looks in its superb setting here in Paternoster Square.
Today’s achievement is due in no small part to the enormous efforts of the Temple Bar Trust from 1976 onwards to return the City’s ancient gate to the Square Mile.
Indeed, today we celebrate a truly unique experience. I understand that this is the first time in history that an ancient monument has moved twice – firstly from Fleet Street to Theobald’s Park in Hertfordshire and secondly from that Park back to the City.
Large crowds witness the official opening
It is indeed fitting that a gateway, threshold of so many journeys for so many Londoners throughout history, should have moved so much.
And it is equally fitting that it should at last have come to rest here in London’s spiritual heart, within the shadow of St Paul’s.
Uniting these two magnificent Wren structures is a momentous moment for the City. We are placing history and beauty at our hearts in unveiling this gateway, as well as underlining the City’s welcome to all which it represents.
It’s 2 thousand 6 hundred and 50 stones have been cleaned, taken down and reassembled in a process. It has taken over a year with the financial support and commitment of the Corporation of London.
Indeed the Corporation has overseen the entire return project from the beginning of 2003 to today’s happy completion.
Of course, the return could never have been achieved without the support and guidance of many people. I would like to offer a very special thank you to MEC, the developers, who made available the site.
And of course we all applaud the skill and insight of the master masons from the Cathedral Works Organisation who have overseen this complex and delicate project.
To commemorate the journey of this remarkable structure, there is a plaque dedicated to the Temple Bar Trust just within the gates.
Four bronze discs commemorating the skill and achievement of the craftsmen who have worked upon the gateway have also been offered by the Worshipful Company of Masons and Paviors. And indeed we thank all the livery and the Friends of Temple Bar for their further support and assistance over the years.
Today, as the final seal of completion, it is my great pleasure to unveil the formal plaque and throw open the gates of this great threshold once more.
I know that there is already a sizeable crowd on the other side waiting to greet us!
So now on behalf of the Corporation of London and the Temple Bar Trust, let us throw open the doors to the City’s newest landmark in what I hope will now be its final resting place!
Throwing open the doors and walking through.
To the Crowd on the other side of the doors:-
Ladies and Gentlemen.
It gives me great pleasure to return Temple Bar to the City, on behalf of the Corporation of London.
Temple Bar is a symbol of London’s commerce, London’s international business hub and London’s welcome to people from all corners of the Earth.
Here, in the shadow of the magnificent St Paul’s, we unite today London’s mercantile history, its thriving 21st century business community and its spiritual heart.
Wren’s great gateway alongside Wren’s cathedral masterpiece for London: it is fitting that the Bar should be placed here as a symbol of London’s history together with its modern role.
I hope that Temple Bar will continue to bring pleasure to visitors and to act as a symbol of the City’s welcome to the world for the centuries to come. Thank you.
BBC TV News reporter, Kurt Barling, interviewing two stone carvers.
The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Robert Finch and the stonemasons.