Extracts from Daniel Defoe’s Account of London

Selected by Pat Rogers
Introduction and Contents


It is scarce worth while to give an account of the statues in this city, they are neither many, or are those which are, very valuable.

The statue of King Charles II. in marble, standing in the middle of the Royal Exchange, is the best beyond comparison; one of the same prince, and his father, standing in two large niches on the south front of the same building, and being bigger than the life, are coarse pieces compared to it.

The statues of the kings and queens, seventeen of which are already put up in the inside of the Royal Exchange, are tolerable, but all infinitely inferior to that in the middle.

There is a statue of Sir Thomas Gresham, the founder of the Royal Exchange, which outdoes many of those kings, only that it stands in a dark corner, and is little noticed; 'tis placed in a nitch under the piazza, in the north west angle of the Exchange, just regarding the Turky walk, and he has a bale of silk lying by him.

There is another equestrian statue, and but one, as I remember, within the City, and that is of King James the First on the north front of one of the gates of the City called Aldersgate: This was erected on the occasion of that king's entring the City at that gate when he arrived here from Scotland, to take the crown after the death of Queen Elizabeth; when that statue was finely painted and gilded, which is not usual, nor is the gilding yet worn off; there are some emblematick figures remaining, which were then suited to the occasion of his triumphal entry, and there was another arch form'd for the day at the bars, where the liberties of the City end, that way which is now called Goswell-street, but that was taken down soon after.


The Gates