London's Top Models
We've not included models that show only individual buildings, such as the rather
special representation of St Paul's inside the cathedral. With Stave Hill as an exception, we've also eschewed models of local areas, such as the King's Cross development in the German Gymnasium or the More London sculpture, as there are dozens around town. Nor have we considered virtual models of London. All of these are topics for another day.
NEW LONDON ARCHITECTURE: This vast and detailed model shows London from Battersea to the Royal Docks, at a scale of 1:1500. It's updated regularly to highlight newly planned buildings. It's also occasionally augmented by cheeky interventions from the public, such as the dinosaur you might just be able to make out on top of the O2 dome. You can access it free of charge, any day of the week except Sunday, at 26 Store Street (off Tottenham Court Road). Just walk in. The model even includes a tiny model of 26 Store Street, leading to the conundrum of whether that model itself contains a model, and so on into Mandelbrotian depths.
CANARY WHARF: Built by Pipers, the same chaps who kitted out New London Architecture’s model, this facsimile London can be found on the 30th floor of One Canada Square. It’s smaller than its West End counterpart, but is better geared up for showing present and future transport links into the Wharf. Next door, an even more impressive model shows off the buildings of Docklands, with the main skyscrapers reaching almost two metres tall. Alas, we were forbidden from photographing that one, because of development sensitivities. Alas number two: neither model is open to the general public.
CITY OF LONDON: This is by far the most glowy of the models in our selection. The impressive illuminations are designed to dazzle potential investors and developers visiting the City of London's marketing suite, which is beneath the Guildhall complex adjacent to the amphitheatre. It's normally closed to the public, but can usually be visited on Open House Weekend, and occasional special events at Guildhall. Here we see it on temporary display at the Walbrook Building last year. It's another one by the craftsome folk at Pipers.
LINES OF COMMUNICATION: During the English Civil Wars, 11 miles of fortifications were erected around London. Very little physical evidence remains for these earthworks, and their exact alignments are uncertain. However, you can get a decent impression of their extent by viewing this concrete map, known as Lines of Communication, in Bishop’s Square, Spitalfields, created by Craft + Pegg.
LONDINIUM: You’ll find a number of representations of Roman London around town. The Museum of London, for example, has good models of the forum and the dockside. But this little treasure in the crypt of All Hallows By The Tower is our favourite. It was built in the 1920s, which means more recent finds such as the Roman Amphitheatre, are entirely absent.
STAVE HILL: This little-known artificial mound in Rotherhithe not only commands champion views of the modern Docklands, but it also lets you glimpse back to the olden times, when all those there houses were maritime trade infrastructure. This splendid model by Michael Rizzello crowns the summit, and shows just how watery Rotherhithe once was.
Last Updated 25 August 2016