PIN The Seven Dials
A Unique Piece of Georgian London
Seven Dials lies on the border of Covent Garden and London's West End and is a stones throw from hedonistic Soho. It has a very distinctive layout with a central monument – essentially a big sundial and streets passing off it like spokes in a wheel.
There is also a fascinating story behind it which goes back to the 17th century and its original architect Thomas Neale. He designed a street layout which had six roads converging on a circular central point. A seventh road was later added rather spoiling the symmetry of the whole thing. Neale's idea was a simple one and by creating a star-shaped design he could cram more properties into the available space. He wanted a focal point at the central point of his grand design and so he commissioned a sundial column. The column sits on a square base which in turn rests on a stepped dais. This rises to a beautiful six-faced sun dial topped by a delicate spire at the zenith of which resides a gilded ball. The original planning application, submitted to Surveyor General Thomas Pepys, showed six streets, a church and a sundial pillar in the centre. When it was finally built a pub was built on each corner of each street.
Fascinating story and impressive design. But why are there only six faces on the sun-dial?
- , Tours
Location45 , Seven Dials, , London, , WC2H 9HD (View on Google Maps)
Monumental Sun Dial