The story of the conception, planning, and making of this sundial is told in aticles from the British Sundial Society Bulletin which you can donwload here

A new sundial for Central London
BSS article - October 2021

A different view of the story is given by the contemporary updates posted on the home page of the website and now moved here

Update 19 September 2021_____________________________________________________
The painting of the sundial is now complete . See pictures here.
Also see the videos 1 (1m32s) and 2 (9m26s) of Steven Whitaker painting the N of the News Chronicle and videos 1 (3m15s) and 2 (8m36s) of painting the Royal Coat of Arms

Progress Report - August 2021_________________________________________________
A very busy time. It's amazing how many details have to be tidied up before anything can happen. The schedule seems to be holding, so 16th August should see the start of the sundial. Meanwhile, the text for the three plaques at the foot of the sundial has been finalised, and a link will be posted here shortly. The plaques are concerned with he sundial, the freedom of the press, and the newspaper industry in Fleet Street..

Progress Report - July 2021_________________________________________________
Plans are now well advanced.. The detailed design of the sundial has been completed using the result of the laser survey The final design is shown in the right hand picture halfway down this page. We are planning to paint the sundial on the wall, starting on Monday 16th August. Please come and see how it is getting on.

Progress Report - June2021_________________________________________________
The public consultation has now finished. The 5 defunct newspapers which will apper on the sundial are:
Republican, 1817-1826 - actually published on the site of the sundial
Morning Post, 1772-1937, amalgamated with the Daily Telegraph
Pall Mall Gazette (evening), 1865-1923, merged with the Evening Standard
News Chronicle, 1930-1965, merged with the Daily Mail
Daily Herald, 1912-1965
, taken over by News Corp and renamed The Sun

Progress Report - May 2021_________________________________________________
1)The laser survey of the wall has been completed, and so we are now confident of the exact declination of the wall and the location and the offset of the step between the very old rendering and the newer work at the top of the wall.
2) We are asking everybody who has an interest in this project to tell us their preferences for which newspaper mastheads should be included in the sundial. Please help us by taking part - see our Vote page
3) We have started work on the information panels which are an important part of this project. The information panels
are designed for local exhibitions, and perhaps also for individual display in local shops etc.
They will also appear
as pages on the website.

Please see our first four pages on:
Fleet Street Map of Newspaper ffices
Daily Newspapers, 1700-1900
Number 62 Fleet Street
Typefounding and the Caslon family

Breakthrough - April 2021_________________________________________________
The City of London have given a grant of the full cost of creating the Fleet Street Heritage Sundial, together with work on three plaques at ground level, an upgrading of this website, and some educational information panels which can be used for local exhibitions. This is fantastic news, and should mean that we can complete the sundial in Auguest 2021.

We are very grateful to all those who have made this possible - the Community Infrastructure Levy Neighbourhood Fund of the City of London, the owner of the wall, the councillors and ward club officials for Castle Baynard Ward, all those who have contributed money in the early stages of the project, the newspapers and journals which have published articles about the project, and all those individual well-wishers who have expressed their enthusiasm during the 12 years it has taken to get the project to this final stage. Many thanks indeed to all!

Update - March 2021_________________________________________________
The middle of a pandemic is not the best time for raising money. But things are looking up! We have just submitted our third application for funding to the City of London, and we are cautiously optimistic that this will produce the bulk of the funding needed to complete the project, and to produce some exhibition and educational material for the locality as well. If our application is successful, we should hear about it in early April. So, please watch this space!

Update - November 2020_________________________________________________
An article "Shedding Light on Art" published in the Marlburian Magazine follows the career of Piers Nicholson and his involvement with sundials

Update - September 2020
A summer full of sunshine and full of considerable problems here on earth. We hope that all our readers have managed to "sit it out" as best they can (and as we have) and have not contracted the virus. Now that things are getting a bit easier, we are resuming our fundraising activities.

Update - end-April 2020_________________________________________________
A new non-profit company, the Fleet Street Sundial Community Interest Company (CIC) has been registered at Companies House as company number 12577303. The company will be responsible for delivering the sundial project, and also for this website. Its correspondence address is 130 Cliffords Inn, London, EC4A 1BY, and its email address is

Update - end-April 2020___________________________________________________
The Bulletin of the British Sundial Society has published an article "A new sundial for central London?"   Read the article here

Update - early April 2020___________________________________________________
The Press Gazette has kindly published an article "Designer of sundial celebrating Fleet Street's newspaper heritage seeks donations. Doweled the article here

Update - mid-March 2020____________________________________________________
The City of London has now granted full planning permission for the sundial and for the 3 plaques at ground level We are hoping to start the construction of the sundial in May this year. Before then, we have to raise 22,000 to pay for the painting, scaffolding, and all the other costs of the project. If you would like to help with this, please let us know by emailing Please see the heritage statement and design and access statement submitted with out planning application

Background - the Struggle for the Freedom of the Press

The Freedom of the Press is something rather taken for granted nowadays, but it is worth a reminder that it was not always so, and that it had to be fought for. As recently as the 1530s, all printed matter had to be approved by the Privy Council before publication. Similar restrictions applied up to the Civil War in 1640. Under the Commonwealth, there were no restrictions, but they were imposed again in 1662, with the Printing Act. Benjamin Harris was sent to prison for defaming the King's authority. Magazines began to appear, and the first daily newspaper, the Daily Courant was published in 1702. But the government became unhappy about the increasing popularity of newspapers and started to impose a tax, initially of a penny a sheet. In 1762, John Wilkes started a newspaper, the North Briton, to criticise the government led by the Earl of Bute and was charged with seditious libel. He spent 22 months in prison. The tax was raised to three pence a copy in 1802 and to four pence in 1815, in a deliberate attempt to reduce the circulation of newspapers critical of the war with France. In 1819, Richard Carlile started publishing The Republican. Later that year, he was convicted of blasphemy and seditious libel and sent to prison. The stamp tax was reduced to one penny in 1836 and was finally abolished in 1851, and this enabled to newspaper industry, mainly based around Fleet Street, to flourish and develop into the powerful force we know today.

Fleet Street Heritage Sundial - Project Outline

For more than two centuries, the term "Fleet Street " has been synonymous with the newspaper industry in Britain. Now,, all the newspapers which used to be published in the neighbourhood of Fleet Street have moved to other locations, leaving little trace of their passing.

Fortunately, there is a large blank wall on the corner of Bouverie Street and Fleet Street, which has had nothing on it for sixty years or more. It is ideally suited to have a sundial on it, and, because the wall faces a few degrees north of East, the hour lines on the sundial will be nearly parallel, so that it would be possible to fit the mastheads of 5 or 6 of the newspapers that used to be published nearby

The junction of Fleet Street and Bouverie Street - see map

The sundial design - the discontinuity in the hour lines is because the wall has a step in it

East-facing sundials do not, of course, have sunshine on them in the afternoon, so this sundial would have the sun on it for most of the morning. Later in the day, and even at night, the sundial would still be clearly visible. The image above shows the face of the proposed sundial, which would be placed on the top half of the wall. The selection of the newspaper mastheads is purely illustrative, and will depend on which newspapers wish to be represented.

The Republican is shown on the top line, because it was actually published from this address in Fleet Street by Richard Carlile, famous for being the only advocate of the freedom of the press who was sent to prison for it. (It was published between 1819 and 1828).

The Pall Mall Gazette was the first national daily newspaper. It was founded in 1865 and amalgamated with the Evening Standard in 1923. It ran a number of radical campaigns, most notably against child prostitution.

. The other slots will be filled by the mastheads of some of the newspapers that are still published, though now printed in other locations.