Thursday, 25 November 2010

The Cheapside Plane Tree - EC2

Standing on the corner of Cheapside and Wood Street in the City (actually just down from the corner) is a beautiful plane tree.  It used to stand in the churchyard of St Peter Cheap, a church that was destroyed in the great fire of 1666 but what I can never quite work out is whether the tree existed prior to this or was planted post fire.  At the very least the tree is around 250 years old and is said to have survived a direct hit by a WWII bomb.  Apparently the tree also inspired Wordsworth to pen a poem (to a thrush) which is kinda cool.  Anyway I love this tree - I feel a bit like it's an ent, ancient and wise but rapidly being overtaken by the modern world.  I find it peaceful just to be near it, which is always a bonus in a big city.  So next time you are wandering down Cheapside, perhaps heading for a tasty bahn-mi at City Caphe (yum) take a moment to pay your respects to the plane tree.


  1. I am trying to work out where this is. Is this is in the old, almost partial churchyard just at the beginning of Wood St. I worked just by it for 2 years and walked up and down the street 10s of times and never realised!

  2. Yes - that's it. A churchyard without a church but with a lovely plane tree!

  3. There's a lovely writen piece in Frank Morley's 'The Great North Road' (1961) about this tree. He re-visited the area just after the war & was surprised to find the tree still standing let alone alive. He adds that an Act of Parliament called the 'Right of Ancient Light' protected the tree from being destroyed by developers.