Despite some strange looks, I’ve been studying the pavement outside the east end of Westminster Abbey recently. We know that in 1834 there was a street plug (ie access to underground fire mains) in “Speaker’s Corner”, which was the name for the outside area between the apse of Henry VII’s chapel and the Chapter House (as well as the better known area inside). I’m wondering if the water main still flows along the same route and this manhole cover is the current day access to it – signalled by the yellow fire hydrant sign. A tad nerdy maybe…?
About Caroline Shenton
Dr Caroline Shenton is an archivist and historian. She was formerly Director of the Parliamentary Archives in London, and before that was a senior archivist at the National Archives. Her book The Day Parliament Burned Down won the Political Book of the Year Award in 2013 and Mary Beard called it 'microhistory at its absolute best' while Dan Jones considered it 'glorious'. Its acclaimed sequel, Mr Barryís War, about the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster, was a Book of the Year in 2016 for The Daily Telegraph and BBC History Magazine and was described by Lucy Worsley as 'a real jewel, finely wrought and beautiful'. During 2017 Caroline will be Political Writer in Residence at Gladstone's Library.