10 Trinity Square, Tower Hill
|OS grid reference|
|• Charing Cross||2 mi (3.2 km) W|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Tower Hill is infamous for the public execution of high status prisoners from the late 14th to the mid 18th century. The execution site on the higher ground north-west of the Tower of London moat is now occupied by Trinity Square Gardens.
Tower Hill also covers a wider area surrounding the Tower of London in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, rising from the north bank of the River Thames to reach a maximum height of 14.5 metres (48 ft) Ordnance Datum. The land was historically part of the Liberties of the Tower of London, an area the Tower authorities controlled to keep clear of any development which would reduce the defensibility of the Tower. Building has encroached to a degree, but a legacy of this control is that much of the hill is still open. The hill includes land on either side of the London Wall, a large remnant of which is visible.
Further information: Liberties of the Tower of London § History
Generally speaking, the name Tower Hill informally applies to those parts of the Tower Liberty that are outside the Tower of London and its moat. Great Tower Hill is the land lying inside (or west) of the line of the London Wall whereas Little Tower Hill is the land outside (or east) of the wall.
Public executions of high-profile traitors and criminals, often attainted peers, were carried out on Tower Hill, including:
After the abandonment of Tower Hill as a site for public executions, Trinity Square and Gardens were laid out in 1797 by Samuel Wyatt as the setting for Trinity House, completed a year earlier as headquarters of the Corporation of Trinity House.
In the 1880s, a section of the London Underground Circle Line was constructed beneath Trinity Square Gardens. In the first decade of the 20th century small buildings, courts and yards bordering Trinity Square were cleared to make way for the construction of the Port of London Authority building at 10 Trinity Square; completed 1922.
The Merchant Navy Memorial, First World War section was unveiled by Queen Mary (deputising for her husband, King George V) on 12 December 1928. The sunken garden of the Merchant Seamen's Memorial was unveiled in 1955  and the memorial commemorating merchant sailors killed in the 1982 Falklands War was opened in 2005.
In October 1933, Reverend P B (“Tubby”) Clayton of All Hallows by the Tower and Dr B R Leftwich published “The Pageant of Tower Hill”, which included the outline of a scheme to improve Tower Hill. In December 1933 the inaugural meeting of the Tower Hill Improvement Fund was held. Lord Wakefield was elected President and launched an appeal at the Guildhall in January 1934.
One of the Trust's first actions was to create a beach on the north bank of the Thames between St Katherine’s Steps and the Tower for families from the East End.
In 1937 the Fund became the Tower Hill Improvement Trust and set about purchasing a number of buildings it considered eyesores. These were demolished in order to provide gardens and open public spaces. Among the buildings demolished was the giant Myer’s tea warehouse, which stood next to All Hallows and blocked the view of the Tower from the west.
During 2001-2003 the Trust part-financed the refurbishment of Trinity Square Gardens.
In June 2006 the Trust's name was shortened to Tower Hill Trust.
The street of Tower Hill, within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, adjoins the City of London at Byward Street and runs eastwards to Minories and Tower Bridge Approach. It replaced Postern Row in the 1880s and was widened and extended a decade later. Tower Hill is in the London congestion charge zone from its junction with Minories westwards.
A pedestrian subway links Tower Hill tube station to the boundary of the Tower of London where the remains of the south tower of the medieval postern gate are visible.
Tower Hill Terrace is the pedestrian way that runs south off Tower Hill to Gloucester Court and also the adjoining paved public space, redeveloped in 2019, atop the Tower Vaults shopping complex. A floor plaque in Tower Vaults commemorates its re-opening in 1991 as the surviving part of the 1864 George Myers built Mazawattee Tea Warehouse, extensively bomb-damaged in Second World War air raids and later demolished.
No. 7 of the original 31 Tower Liberty boundary markers is sited at the bottom of the steps linking Gloucester Court to Tower Hill Terrace and no. 8 is positioned at the base of the circular concrete air duct adjoining Tower Hill.
Immediately east of the Tower of London Welcome Centre on Great Tower Hill are the buried structural remains of the medieval Bulwark Gate and bastion. The lower half of Tower Hill was enclosed in the late 15th century to protect the western entrance to the Tower of London. The large brick bastion commissioned by Edward IV extended part way up Tower Hill from Tower Dock, but was demolished in 1668.
Tower Subway is a tunnel under the Thames running from Tower Hill to Vine Lane in Southwark. The round brick-built entrance building near the Tower of London's ticket office was constructed in 1926 by the London Hydraulic Power Company. The year of 1868 visible on the structure refers to the Tower Subway Act of 1868 which authorised the construction of the tunnel.
The grade II listed former pump house (Tower of London shop) was built in 1863 and designed by the architect Anthony Salvin.
London Buses route 15 east to Blackwall and west to Trafalgar Square runs along Tower Hill. Tower Hill tube station is adjacent and Tower Gateway DLR station close by.
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