Earlier this month it was former US President Ronald Reagan’s turn to be honored with statue in Grosvenor Square. Last week it was the turn of former Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin – the first man in space – to be so honored with a new statue located outside the British Council’s offices in the Mall (opposite another explorer, Captain James Cook). The statue, a gift of the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos, was unveiled to mark the 50th anniversary of Gagarin’s celebratory visit to London on 14th July, 1961, just three months after he completed his orbit of the earth on 12th April that year. The 3.5 metre high zinc alloy figure stands close to Admiralty Arch which was where Gagarin met then Prime Minister Harold MacMillan after he was invited to the UK by the National Union of Foundrymen. Among those present for the unveiling of the statue – which is a replica of one in the town of Lubertsy where Gagarin worked as a foundryman as a teenager – was Gagarin’s daughter Elena Gagarina, now director of the Kremlin Museums, and Vladimir Popovkin, head of the Russian Federal Space Agency. The British Council is running an exhibition, Gagarin in Britain, which looks at the life of Gagarin and the early Soviet space programme, until 14th September – among the objects on display is the first space suit and an ejector seat similar to that Gargarin used when he ejected out of Vostok 1. Entry is by registration only and space is limited – email gargarin@britishcouncil.org is you’d like to register for a place. For more information, see www.britishcouncil.orgPICTURE: Frank Noon/British Council

A new iPhone app which directs people to key sites in what was Roman London (Londinium) will go live on Monday. Developed by the Museum of London and the History Channel, Streetmuseum Londonium will bring to life some of the city’s most significant Roman sites, such as the amphitheatre at Guildhall, using “augmented reality video” which will overlay scenes of Roman London over the modern city while soundscapes will allow users to listen to a ritual at the Temple of Mithras or traders at the forum. In addition, users will be able to ‘digitally excavate’ Roman artifacts including leather bikini briefs and an ancient manicure set. Navigation to these “immersive experiences” will be via a specially created new map of Roman London which will be superimposed on a modern map of the capital, allowing users to see how the city has changed. The launch follows the earlier creation of the Streetmuseum app which guides people to more than 200 sites across the city. More than 200,000 people from across the world have so far downloaded this. Streetmuseum Londinium will be available free to download from 25th July. See www.museumoflondon.org.uk/apps for more.

London will mark one year to go until the Olympic Games next Wednesday with a ceremony in Trafalgar Square which will be broadcast live on BBC1. Among those present with be the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) chairman Sebastian Coe and Mayor of London Boris Johnson. The event will also feature a live cross to the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park where Olympic hopeful Tom Daley will make the first dive into the pool.

• The British Library hopes to raise £2.75 million to acquire the world’s earliest surviving intact European book, the 7th century St Cuthbert Gospel. A copy of the Gospel of St John, the book was buried with St Cuthbert on the isle of Lindisfarne in 698 and later found in the saint’s coffin in Durham Cathedral in 1104. The National Heritage Fund Memorial has already awarded £4.5 million to obtain the St Cuthbert Gospel and the Art Fund and The Garfield Weston Foundation have donated £250,000 each. The book has been on long-term loan to the library since 1979 and is regularly on view in the Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery. The library was approached last year and given first option to acquire the text after the Society of Jesus (British Province) decided to sell it. A price of £9 million has been agreed, of which £2.75 million remains outstanding. For more, see www.bl.uk.

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Also known as the Mithraeum, the remains of the Temple of Mithras were only discovered in the City during building work in 1954.

The temple was originally located some 18 feet (5.4 metres) below Walbrook Street on the bank of what was Walbrook but was moved to its current location at the eastern end, and south side, of Queen Victoria Street. It is presently again surrounded by building work hoardings so you’ll have to ignore those if you’re trying to soak up some ancient atmosphere.

The temple was built around 240 AD and remained in use until around 350AD when, after it suffered severe subsidence, it was rebuilt and dedicated to the god Bacchus. The original stone temple was dedicated to Mithras, a Persian sun deity and a particular favorite of Roman soldiers, and perhaps to several other gods as well.

These days all that remains are foundations, but you can see the basic layout with a sunken nave – which would have had benches on either side – leading to an altar, remains of which are at the northern end of the site.

Numerous artefacts have been found at the temple site, including a head of Mithras, a sculpture showing a scene of Mithras killing a bull (he apparently did so in a cave so  Mithraeum were built partly or even totally underground), and heads of the Roman gods Minerva and Serapis, all of which can be seen at the Museum of London.

WHERE: Queen Victoria Street (nearest tube station is Bank); WHEN: Open to the public at all times; COST: Free. WEBSITE: The Museum of London’s website has some good information on the temple, http://bit.ly/hzsBrW