infobox UK place
official_name= Ward of Aldgate
map_type= Greater London
country= England
region= London
london_borough= City of London
latitude= 51.51488
longitude= -0.07890
os_grid_reference= TQ334813
post_town= LONDON
postcode_area= EC
postcode_district= EC3
dial_code= 020
constituency_westminster = Cities of London and Westminster

Aldgate was the easternmost gateway through London Wall leading from the City of London to Whitechapel and the East End. Aldgate gives its name to a ward of the City. This is bounded by White Kennet Street in the north to Crutched Friars in the south, taking in Leadenhall and Fenchurch Streets, which remain principal thoroughfares through the City, each splitting from the 50 metre street of Aldgate that runs from Aldgate High Street. There are only two buildings on the street. To the north is Sir John Cass's school, where a plaque records the former course of London Wall. To the south is a branch of the French insurance company AXA.


The ward is bounded on the east by the line of the former City wall, which parts it from Portsoken ward; it is bounded on the south by Tower-street ward; and on the west and north by Langbourn, Limestreet, and Bishopsgate wards [ [ 'Book 2, Ch. 5: Aldgate Ward', A New History of London: Including Westminster and Southwark (1773), pp. 545-49] accessed: 21 May 2007] .


A gate at Aldgate was already thought to be spanning the road to Colchester, in the Roman period, when the City Wall itself was constructed. The gateway stood at the corner of the modern Duke's Place; and was always an obstacle to traffic. It was rebuilt between 1108-47, again in 1215 and reconstructed completely in 1607-9. The gate was finally removed in 1761, being temporarily re-erected at Bethnal Green. The name is derived from Ale-gate, literally open to all, as uniquely, no tolls were exacted at this gate. The form "Aldgate" does not occur until 1486-7 [ 'Aldermary Churchyard - Aldgate Ward', A Dictionary of London (1918)] accessed: 21 May 2007] .

While he was a customs official, from 1374 until 1386, Geoffrey Chaucer occupied apartments above the gate. The Augustinian Priory of Holy Trinity Aldgate was founded by Queen Matilda, wife of Henry I, in 1108 on ground just inside the gate [John Schofield, Richard Lea "Holy Trinity Priory, Aldgate, City of London: an archaeological reconstruction and history" (MoLAS 2005) ISBN 1-901992-45-4] .

Within Aldgate Ward, a short distance to the north of the gate. Jews settled from 1181, until the expulsion in 1290 by Edward I. The area became known as Old Jewry. Jews were welcomed back by Oliver Cromwell, and once again settled in the area, building London's oldest synagogue at Bevis Marks in 1698.fact|date=October 2008

In about 1420, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry was founded in Aldgate, later moving to nearby Whitechapel. They continued to supply bells to churches in the city, including providing bells for the rebuilt church of St Botolph Without Aldgate in 1744 [ [ Whitechapel Bell foundry "500 years of history"] accessed 21 May 2007] .

At the junction of Aldgate High Street, Leadenhall Street and Fenchurch Street, stood Aldgate pump. From 1700, it was from this point that distances were measured into the counties of Essex and Middlesex. The original was taken down in 1876, and a 'faux' pump and drinking fountain erected several yards to the west of the original, supplied by the New River. In ancient deeds, "Alegate Well" is mentioned, adjoining the City Wall, and this may have been the source [of water] for the original pump. A section of London Wall can be seen through a window in a nearby office block, on the north side.

In 1773, "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral" by Phillis Wheatley, the first book by an African American was published in Aldgate after her owners could not find a publisher in Boston [ [ Frontispiece to "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral"] accessed 21 May 2007] .

Daniel Mendoza, was born in 1764 to a Jewish family in Aldgate. He was author of "The Art of Boxing" and became English Boxing Champion from 1792 to 1795 [ [ Daniel Mendoza - International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame] accessed 21 May 2007] .

Aldgate is one of 25 wards in the City of London, each electing an Alderman, to the Court of Aldermen and Commoners (the City equivalent of a Councillor) to the Court of Common Council of the City of London Corporation. Only electors who are Freemen of the City of London are eligible to stand.

The area around the large traffic roundabout to the East of where the gate stood, is also often referred to as Aldgate (although strictly, this is Aldgate High Street, and extends a short distance into Whitechapel, it is also known occasionally by the epithet 'Gardiners' Corner', in honour of a long disappeared department store).


The ward is dominated by the insurance industry, and prominent buildings include the Gherkin (2005) in St Mary Axe, Lloyds Register and the London Metal Exchange. Also within the ward are three churches; St Botolph's Aldgate also St Katherine Cree (1631) and St Andrew Undershaft (1532) - both of which are administered from St Helen's in Lime Street ward. There is also the synagogue (1699) at Bevis Marks.

On 10 April 1992 the Provisional IRA detonated a bomb close to the Baltic Exchange, severely damaging the historic building and neighbouring structures [ [ "Extreme restoration" Megan Lane 5 July 2007 (BBC News magazine)] accessed 23 Sep 2007] . "The Gherkin" now occupies this site.


ee also

*City gate
*City wall
*Battle of Cable Street (Fascist marchers were met by the people of the East End)
* Stepney Historical Trust

External links

* [ Map of Early Modern London: Aldgate Ward] - Historical Map and Encyclopedia of Shakespeare's London (Scholarly)

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