Gog and Magog are the traditional guardians of The City of London and appear every year in the Lord Mayor’s Show
As you wander around The City and enjoy your stay at one of the serviced apartments to rent in London you may not be particularly preoccupied by Gog and Magog. These two giants are traditionally the guardians of The City of London and have a fascinating role to play in the area’s history.
Champions of London
Legend has it that Gog and Magog were the only two surviving sons of Diocletian’s 33 daughters. The Roman emperor’s offspring were said to be somewhat wayward and their associations with various devils led to the birth of giants. It is said that Brutus came across Gog and Magog while forming the city of New Troy, which would become London, and tamed them by chaining them up on the site of the Guildhall.
Statues in the Guildhall
From as early as the reign of Henry V, it has been observed that carved statues of the giants were in place guarding the gates of the Guildhall. They were destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and Pageantmaster Thomas Jordan commissioned new ones to be created in 1672 and put in their place. Unfortunately, they were constructed out of wickerwork and papier mache, leaving them susceptible to mice and rats.Captain Richard Saunders carved a wonderfully ornate pair of Gog and Magog statues out of wood in 1708. They stood in the Guildhall for more than 200 years before they in turn, were destroyed by the blitz. Alderman Sir George Wilkinson had been Lord Mayor in 1940 when they went up and smoke. He commissioned a new set by David Evans and in 1953 they were presented to The City as a gift. They can still be seen to this day.
Lord Mayor’s Show
The Lord Mayor’s Show is the highlight of the events calendar in The City and is full of pomp and ceremony. Look out for Gog and Magog near the front of the procession, as wicker representations of the giants are always carried through the streets on this auspicious occasion. The tradition was started in 1554 and has continued ever since.