If you're planning going up the Monument in the City of London sometime this summer, or indeed next, it might be a good idea to forget it.
The 62 metre neo-classical stone column designed by Sir Christopher Wren to mark the Great Fire of London is now shut whilst the City of London has it restored to its former glory and attempts to modernise the viewing platform at the top which gives visitors one of the few chances to get a high-rise view in the area.
Improvements will include a restored visitors cage that won't make you feel like you're a zoo animal - it is literally a cage to stop people jumping off it. There will also be new lighting whilst the stone-work will done up. Those who have braved the 311 steps to the top will be particularly glad to hear this given the difficult nature of the worn staircase and wobbly banisters.
It's been over a hundred years since the previous restoration occured back in 1888 when Queen Victoria was still on the throne, ten pints of beer cost half a penny and poor children had to carve their school homework into their backs with knives as they couldn't afford paper.
Unfortunately however, this means that during one of the most notable periods of high-rise construction ever seen in London, there will be no way of viewing this up close from above street level. It also leaves the City of London with the rare distinction of being the only central business district in the whole of Europe to not have a publicly accessible viewing platform unless you count St Paul's Cathedral which strictly speaking, isn't.
The City of London has a high-tech solution to try and alleviate the annoyance of tourists who will be unable to scale the world's tallest freestanding stone column by mounting cameras on the top and relaying the views to the bottom.
The £4.5 million programme of works will conclude with the Monument reopening in early 2009.
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