Hidden Treasures

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.


35 thoughts on “Hidden Treasures

  1. I love medicinal plant gardens…I find them very fascinating. There are quite a few of them here in Sri Lanka, as the plants are used for ayurvedic purposes.There are many plants that are specific to Sri Lanka apparently and most are new to us.


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  2. As an old herbalist this was most fascinating to me – I didn’t know such a place was in London. It’s amazing what you miss even when you live in the area for several years! Your photos of the ruins are excellent – I love the perspective of the first one in particular!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was really interesting to read how each plant was used, and also that many are still in use now.

      This section of the wall and the bastion are well-preserved and easy to see. We found out that there is a walk you can do along the wall to see the remains, which goes for nearly 3km. It’s on our list for next time.

      Liked by 1 person

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