Mysterious Safe-Oven-Type-Thing Found In City Of London

By M@ Last edited 78 months ago
Mysterious Safe-Oven-Type-Thing Found In City Of London

Is it a safe? Is it a bread oven? A storage unit for fire equipment? This puzzling relic was spotted on Martin Lane, near London Bridge in the City of London by occasional Londonist contributor Jonnie Fielding. It appears to be some kind of decrepit strong box. But how come it's survived, and why is it on the outside of the building? Any suggestions gratefully received.

Last Updated 23 November 2011


I used to work for Barclays Bank waaaay back and it look like it could be an old "Night Safe" where shop keepers and businesses could deposit cash and cheques for safe keeping overnight. In the morning the bank staff would open the safe and process the deposits once the bank had opened.


My office window overlooks this and I often see tour guides pointing it out. I'm guessing it's an oven with plate warmers above, and it used to be inside a building that has been demolished. The building it backs onto is a pub that dates from 1663 (so survived the great fire that started nearby), was frequented by Dickens and has an underground passage to the river according to

Ian Kitching

I puzzled over this for 10 years until a London Walks guide explained it's a safe which used to be inside a house, now demolished


Good knowledge guys.


I'm still not sure - the ventilation doesn't look right for an oven, yet the hinges look a bit flimsy for a safe.

Bowl Of Chalk

Incidentally. I just found a picture using Google Maps, but have since lost and have been unable to get back ... but it very clearly shows that the 'thing' in question lies directly under the chimney stack which would very much indicate an oven of some sort, which I found intriguing because I was convinced it wasn't an oven but a safe. Also, the road next to it, is a bit of a 'non road' which could indicate there was something there that got demolished. Whilst I'm at it, I found a Time Out article which reckons like Phil that the Old Wine Shades survived the Fire in 1666. I find that hard to believe, but none-the-less ... having consulted my pre fire map, it was then St. Martins Lane Just below the church of St John Baptist and right by Fishmongers Hall. Two other streets running directly below were Blackraven Ally, Ebgate Lane, Catharyne Wheele Ally (Sp?)  & Old Swan Ally. 

Bowl Of Chalk

I should add. Peter concurred the oven theory already and of course, I meant 3 streets not 2. Thinking about it, I reckon that yes, part of the building was pulled down, but why leave the oven/safe?

I've always assumed it was a range.