Introduction to the Aldgate Ward
Aldgate is one of the richest and most vibrant Wards in London with the history stretching back over two thousand years to Roman times. When the city of Londinium, which covered one square mile, was fortified by walls and could only be entered by means of four gates. These were Aldersgate to the north, Ludgate to the West, Ealdgate or Aldgate to the east and Bridgegate to the south, over the Thames. The actual structure of the Aldgate was lost to us only comparatively recently, having been taken down in 1760.
The Ward Church, St Katherine Cree, situated in Leadenhall Street is named after St Katherine who was tortured on a barbed wheel before being beheaded and is remembered on bonfire night when we light up ‘Catherine Wheels’.
Ward boundaries often change to reflect the voting mix, but the old boundary included Lloyd’s Registry, Lloyd’s Building, Cutlers Exchange and of course the Baltic Exchange. The later survived 2 world wars, but succumbed in 1992 in the IRA Bombing. The original site of the Exchange is now occupied by the Swiss Re Building or better known as “the Gherkin”. The new Baltic Exchange is slightly further north of the original site.
The Ward Club
The Ward has always nurtured a sense of community, which is embodied in the Aldgate Ward Club. Although the Club did not officially form until 1906, it started out as the Aldgate Ratepayers Association and as such its history extends beyond the twentieth century. Over the last 100 years many notable people have been members and President of the Club. Dr Nick Barratt wrote an interesting book, One Hundred Years in the History of The Aldgate Ward Club, which was published in 2005. Sadly the publisher has ceased business, but a few copies are around and we are looking to try to scan the book and include in this web page.
The Baltic Exchange
The Baltic Exchange has been the home of the Aldgate Ward Club for many years. It was blown up by the IRA in 1992 an interesting history was presented to the Club in 2020 and a PDF of the slides can be downloaded by clicking on the download button.