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Designer of sundial celebrating Fleet Street's newspaper heritage seeks donations for project

The designer of a sundial celebrating Fleet Street’s newspaper heritage is seeking funds to make the project a reality.

The sundial will cost an estimated £24,000 to create and will be painted on a large blank wall at the corner of Bouverie Street and Fleet Street.

The design will use the mastheads of five former newspapers (pictured), which could include the News of the World and the Manchester Guardian.

Piers Nicholson finally won planning permission for the project, which spans ten by ten metres, in December after 12 years of negotiations.

City of London planning rules mean it cannot include the names of newspapers still in print because this would be considered advertising.

The upper part of the east-facing wall gets the sun until 11.30am all-year-round, weather permitting, according to Nicholson, who owns a flat next door.

The wall at the corner of Bouverie Street and FLeet Street. Picture: Google Maps

In the 1930s the wall was used for advertising, but after the First World War the City of London banned adverts above ground floor level.  As a result it has been left blank for decades.

The wall has no windows because it was previously adjacent to another building, 62 Bouverie Street, that was demolished to widen the street, records show.

Number 62 was previously the printing office of the radical journalist Richard Carlile, who published The Republican newspaper on the premises from 1819 to 1826, according to Nicholson.

Carlile was present at the 1819 Peterloo massacre in Manchester and published the first eye-witness report of it in London.

His reports, which claimed revolutionary violence was justified by the murderous actions of the authorities, are believed to have influenced Shelley’s poem The Mask of Anarchy about the slaughter.

The government of the day attempted to shut down The Republican on a number of occasions, raising the tax on newspapers in an attempt to put it and others like it out of business.

Carlile was prosecuted three times on charges of seditious blasphemy, serving three years in jail.

His story will be shared on one of three plaques, planned at street level as part of the sundial project.

The second will tell the public about Fleet Street’s place as the former hub of the British press, while another will include information about sundials.

Nicholson said: “The purpose of the new sundial is to remind the many users of Fleet Street of its worldwide reputation in the days when it was the hub of the newspaper industry.”

He said it would also “provide a permanent memorial to those like Richard Carlile and others who fought and suffered for the freedom of the press”.

Visit Fleet Street Heritage Sundial to find out how to donate.

Picture: Google Maps

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