The ‘Paleys Upon Pilers‘ is the City of London’s newest sculpture. Built by Studio Weave and unveiled earlier this month, this wooden structure of complex interlocking beams and trusses commemorates Geoffrey Chaucer, who lived in Aldgate for 12 years of his life. It recreates one of the buildings that he imagined in the dream poems written during his time in the area, ‘The House of Fame’ and the ‘Parliament of Fowls’. The elaborate patterns on the supporting columns echo the illumination found in the early copies of his work. Not featured in the photograph is one of the ‘fowl’ of Chaucer’s poem – George the owl. He is there, up in the rafters, but you have to look carefully to spot him.
The structure has been placed in this particular spot because it marks the starting point of ‘High Street 2012′, the main route that leads east from here, eventually depositing you outside the Olympic Park over in Stratford. If you want to go and investigate the ‘Paleys Upon Pilers’ for yourself, you’ll find it at the point where St Botolph St and Aldgate split, just in front of St Botolph Without Aldgate church. I think you’ll agree that it’s an absolute marvel – it’s certainly one of the most elaborate wooden structures anywhere in London. There’s no hurry however – unlike many of the buildings within the Olympic Park there are no plans to dismantle ‘Paleys Upon Pilers’ after the London 2012 games are over – hopefully it will stay here for many years.