The Monument to the Great Fire of London (also known simply as The Monument) is a 202 ft (61.57 metre) tall stone Roman Doric column near the northern end of London Bridge. It stands at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill, 202 ft (61.57 metres) from where the Great Fire of London started in 1666. Constructed between 1671 and 1677, it is the tallest isolated stone column in the world.
The top of the Monument is reached by a narrow winding staircase of 311 steps. A cage was added in the mid-19th century at the top of the Monument to prevent people jumping off, after six people had committed suicide between 1777 and 1842.
Three sides of the base carry inscriptions in Latin. The one on the south side describes actions taken by Charles II following the fire. The one on the east describes how the Monument was started and brought to perfection, and under which mayors. The one on the north describes how the fire started, how much damage it caused, and how the fire was extinguished.
The west side of the base displays a sculpture in alto and bas relief, of the destruction of the City; with King Charles II, and his brother, James, the Duke of York (later James II) surrounded by the chimerical figures of Liberty, Architecture, and Science, giving directions for its restoration.
The monument was also built to double as a scientific instrument. It has a central shaft meant for use as a zenith telescope and for use in gravity and pendulum experiments that connects to an underground laboratory for observers to work (accessible from the present-day ticket booth). A hinged lid in the urn covers the opening to the shaft. In early 2001 the entire laboratory was refurbished by a generous donation from The Blackmund Family Charitable Trust. The steps in the shaft of the tower are all six inches high, allowing them to be used for barometric pressure studies.
Importance to The Empire of the White Tower
The Fire is a crucial event in The History of the Empire, leading to the death of the First Great Empire of the Lost and the destruction or obfuscation of most of that great government's power and wealth. It is widely known that the Fire burned not only in the real world but managed to burn through the Hedge itself, causing untold destruction and chaos that according to some may have stretched into the Kingdoms of the Fae themselves.
The Monument seems to be a particularly important location in the Empire, though it is not entirely clear why. It is guarded by one of The Punished known only as The American Woman. In the Deep Hedge beneath the Monument exists a small grove with a clear blue pond and numerous Hedgefruit including the rare First Empire Roses.
The Monument itself appears to have some connection to The Empire in the number of stairs leading up to the Zenith- 311, which happens to be the exact number of Changelings who are full citizens of the Empire.