Literary London – Chaucer and the Cheesegrater
Tina Baxter finds some amazing connections between Chaucer and the modern City
25th October 2014 – Anniversary of Geoffrey Chaucer’s death
Geoffrey Chaucer died on 25th October 1400 and was buried in Westminster Cathedral in a place now known as ‘Poet’s Corner’, he was the first great literary hero to be enshrined on that spot. The memorial to him was created 150 years after his death, also it is likely he was given a place within the Cathedral due in part to his position as Clerk of Works to the palace rather than for his work as a poet.
Whilst preparing this walk there have been several serendipitous elements. One such occurrence is at the corner of Whittington Avenue and Leadenhall Street, with views of the Leadenhall Building (‘Cheesegrater’), Leadenhall Market, plus sight of the ‘Walkie Talkie’. They all come together beautifully.
How come? Richard Whittington began his debut as Lord Mayor of the City of London at the end of Chaucer’s life; he (Dick) used the lead from the medieval ‘hall’ to create a conduit in Cheapside. The market was not only for poulterers’ but later for cheesemongers too! So a ‘cheesegrater’ nearby is very handy, even if a tad late.
The truly spine-tingling connection is a quote from Chaucer’s House of Fame – ‘I dreamt I was within a temple made of glass’ with ‘many pillar of metal’. Is he not describing the future of his City? Serendipity indeed.
Find out more on Tina’s Chaucer – His Life and Work in the City walk on October 25th