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The Golden Boy of Pye Corner in London

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Golden Boy of Pye Corner is a famous small monument located on the corner of Giltspur Street and Cock Lane near the City of London. The Golden Boy marks the spot where the 1666 Great Fire of London was stopped. The statue is made of wood and is covered with gold. The building that incorporates it is a Grade II listed building.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

It bears the following small inscription below it:

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

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The main inscription, 10 ft below the boy is The boy at Pye Corner was erected to commemorate
the staying of the great fire which beginning at Pudding Lane was ascribed to the Sin of Gluttony
when not attributed to the papists as on the Monument and the Boy was made prodigiously fat to
enforce the moral he was originally built into the front of a public-house Called The Fortune of War
Which used to occupy this site and was pulled down in 1910.

‘The Fortune of War’ was The chief house of call North of the River for Resurrectionists in body
snatching days years ago. The landlord used to show the room where on benches round the walls the bodies
Were placed labelled with the snatchers’ names waiting till the Surgeons at Saint Bartholomew’s could run
round and appraise them.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The area was known as Rennerstrete in the 15th century, famous London historian Stow considered that the name “Pie Corner” from the sign of the Pie, “a fayre Inn for recipte of travellers, but now divided into tenementes “.

Pie Corner in the 17th century was often mentioned for its food, Ben Jonson writes in the Alchemist in 1612 remarks

“I shall put you in mind, sir, at Pie Corner,
Taking your meal of steam in from cooks’ stalls.”

In the 18th century, Strype mentions Pie Corner, as “noted chiefly for cooks’ shops and pigs dressed there during Bartholomew Fair.”

As noted in the information on the wall, The Fortune of War public house was known for resurrectionists who often displayed their corpses to surgeons at nearby St Bartholomew’s Hospital. The public house was mentioned in William Thackeray’s Vanity Fair and Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities before being demolished in 1910.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Despite the knowledge of the area, the origins of the Golden Boy is shrouded in mystery and little is known when he appeared on the wall on Pie Corner. Many have mentioned that although the Golden Boy is associated with gluttony, he is not really a fat little boy. In fact he resembles a cherub but where he came from is not known.These mysteries are quite common in London where the origins of these objects are often lost in time.

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