City of Symbols
While Dan Brown looks for Masonic symbolism in Washington, DC, we journey through Masonic London, on a trail that takes in Isaac Newton and Jack the Ripper, St Paul’s Cathedral and Canary Wharf, conspiracy theories and occult forces…
David Hambling - November 2009
Dan Brown’s latest novel sends symbologist Robert Langdon on a new quest. Having previously tangled with the Priory of Sion and the Illuminati, this time he’s pursuing the Freemasons; and once again he must follow a treasure trail of clues hidden in the urban landscape. Dan Brown is notorious for his loose approach to historical fact, and accuracy takes second place to keeping the plot moving. His location is Washington, DC, a city with plenty of Masonic connections. But Brown might have done better to start at the roots of Freemasonry in the City of London.
The City of London, or Square Mile, is history and mythology made concrete, going right back to the celebrated London Stone itself.  Settlement here dates to pre-Roman times, but the biggest influence on the City as we know it today was the rebuilding project that took place after the Great Fire of 1666. This gave London much of its present form and introduced many of its greatest monuments. Unlike the previous random sprawl, which had grown up organically over centuries, the rebuilding was carried out according to a deliberate master plan. Some claim that it was simply an attempt to build on more orderly and ‘rational’ lines, but if we peel back the surface the esoteric, Masonic and even magical aspects of the City are revealed.