Aldgate Pump

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Aldgate Pump at its current site since 1876

Aldgate Pump is a historic water pump in London, located at the junction where Aldgate meets Fenchurch Street and Leadenhall Street.

The pump marks the start of the A11 road towards Norwich and distances to locations in Middlesex, Essex and beyond were measured from here. This contributed to the pump's status as the symbolic start of the East End of London. The metal wolf head on the pump's spout is supposed to signify the last wolf shot in the City of London.[1]

Aldgate Pump is a Grade II listed structure.[2] As a well, it was mentioned during the reign of King John.[3] As the City of London developed, it is thought to have been taken down and re-erected at its current location in 1876, as a drinking fountain, as streets were widened.[3]

The pump in 1874

Served by one of London's many underground streams, the water was praised for being "bright, sparkling, and cool, and of an agreeable taste".[4] These qualities were later found to be derived from decaying organic matter from adjoining graveyards,[4] and the leaching of calcium from the bones of the dead in many new cemeteries in north London through which the stream ran from Hampstead.[5] Several hundred people died during what became known as the Aldgate Pump Epidemic,[5] and on its relocation in 1876, the New River Company changed the supplies to mains water.

Fenchurch Street railway station was built in 1841 upon the site of Aldgate Pump Court.[6]

Aldgate Pump was also the name of a song, written by G. W. Hunt for the lion comique Arthur Lloyd in 1869. In the song, the raconteur is abandoned by the girl "I met near Aldgate Pump".[7]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (199277)". Images of England. Retrieved 14 September 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Aldermary Churchyard – Aldgate Ward, A Dictionary of London (1918). accessed 14 September 2009
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ Aldgate Ward School – All Hallows Garschirch, Gracechurch, Grascherch, in Gracioustreete, A Dictionary of London (1918). accessed 14 September 2009
  7. ^ Arthur Lloyd's "Aldgate pump" (Arthur Lloyd music hall history) accessed 14 September 2009

Coordinates: 51°30′48″N 0°04′40″W / 51.51339°N 0.0777°W / 51.51339; -0.0777

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