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The Golden Boy of Pye Corner, IMG Cred: Chris Osburn

The Golden Boy

The Golden Boy of Pye Corner is a gold, life-size statue of a small boy. The effigy is located in the central London area known as the “City of London” between St Paul’s Cathedral and Smithfield Market. With the must-see and majestic Cathedral, the glitzy One New Change shopping centre, the pedestrian only Millennium Bridge across the Thames with Tate Modern on the other side … along with some of London's oldest pubs and most highly regarded restaurants in high concentration – there are plenty of great reasons to visit the City of London, and a quick detour to pass by the Golden Boy adds a bit of centuries' old context to this historic part of town.

In plain sight – and quite hard to miss once you notice it – the Golden Boy is something many lifelong Londoners still aren't aware of. The statue can be found at the corner of Giltspur Street and Cock Lane. Once known as Pye Corner, the boy marks what is believed to have been the furthest extent of the Great Fire of 1666. Adhering to the popular notion that greed and intemperance brought about the Great Fire as a punishment from God, the Golden Boy was erected with the following inscription:

This Boy is in Memmory Put up for the late FIRE of LONDON Occasion'd by the Sin of Gluttony.

Today the City of London is known for its many law offices, restaurants, world class shopping and its numerous tourist attractions. However, during the 17th and early 18th centuries, this same area was considered to be one of London's most disreputable zones. And Pye Corner was regarded as the City's most unsavoury corner. Indeed, Cock Lane (originally known as Cokkes Lane) was home to a number of legal brothels.

Originally, The Golden Boy was affixed to the front of a public house called The Fortune of War, the corner of which served as point of call for so called resurrectionists carrying out bodysnatching during the same era as the Great Fire. As anyone familiar with this area of London knows, The Fortune of War was situated eerily close to St Bartholomew’s Hospital. According to legend, the Fortune’s landlord worked as a go-between for both the snatchers and surgeons from St Bart’s. The Fortune of War was demolished in 1910, but the Golden Boy still remains.  


Visit Golden Boy with cheap flights to London today!


Photo: Chris Osburn

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