Our first office was 100 yards from London Wall, after which our company is named. For us, the Wall and its history symbolises all that successful publishing must embody: vision, imagination, passion, hard work, scope, solidity and longevity.
The history of London Wall dates back to the very origins of the city of London in around 43 AD, when the settlement of Londinium was founded by Roman invaders. Come the early 3rd century, Londinium was a major commercial centre for the Roman Empire, to be protected at all costs. Hence at great effort and expense a four-kilometre-long defensive wall was erected around the outer boundary. It was one of the greatest construction projects carried out in Roman Britain, and required some 85,000 tons of stone – solid indeed!
Within the walls were interspersed a number of gates: Ludgate, Newgate, Aldersgate Cripplegate, Moorgate, Bishopsgate and Aldgate. These gates became seminal in London culture: they were multi-storey constructions that were often used to incarcerate prisoners. Executed criminals were also displayed on the gates to serve as a warning to passersby. The gates were later demolished, but to this day areas of London are named for them.
Over the years since their construction, the Wall stood tall and firm against any who would harm the city – including Saxon pirates, whose repeated raids spurred on the construction of a new riverside wall. Though the Romans withdrew from Britain in the year 410, still the wall was maintained, and until the late Middle Ages it continued to mark the boundary of the City of London, standing as a symbol of defence.
Only in the 18th and 19th centuries did demolition begin on the wall that no longer contained the city of London – it had grown out, sprawling in every direction. But, loathe to destroy such a historic structure, builders saved large portions by incorporating them into new buildings. Then came the Blitz of World War II, and the last sections fell under the rain of bombs.
Today a scattering of fragments remain, in the grounds of the Museum of London, in the Barbican Estate and around Tower Hill. It is one of these fragments that is the namesake of our publishing company – an inspiration to us of strength and fortitude that has stood the test of time.