Exploring England #37
London is full of historic sites commemorating people and events from the past. Many are famous and teeming with visitors, while some are almost unknown. On our way to the Museum of London, we discovered a small green square containing two hidden treasures.
The dilapidated ruins of a medieval gate, built on top of the original Roman city wall, fill the front of the square. Even when dwarfed by the surrounding modern buildings, the 13th century bastion is imposing. The Roman wall, constructed in the 2nd century AD, was fortified with 21 bastions added in medieval times.
Behind the bastion are more remnants of the city wall and, tucked into a space between the wall and the Barber-Surgeons’ Hall, is the Barbers’ Physic Garden. Created in 1978, the plants are representative of those used for medicinal purposes from medieval times to the present; they were all listed in a botanical book published in 1597 by John Gerard, Master Barber-Surgeon.
Each plant is accompanied by an explanation of its medicinal benefits. Some have been in use for centuries but, with modern research methods, others have been found to have unhealthy side effects.
Many of the plants are familiar to us. They grow just as happily in Australian gardens as in this hidden garden in the centre of London.