Thursday, January 19, 2012

Temple of Mithras comes home

One Saturday afternoon in September 1954, a handsome, faintly smiling god looked up from the London mud. His name was Mithras, and the rediscovered Roman temple to his cult became a sensation in a gloomy postwar capital pitted with bombsites and still recovering from rationing.

But the temple was also about to become Britain's most mobile Roman site. Fifty-seven years ago it was in the way of an office block development and had to be shifted. Now, almost 2,000 years after it was first built, it is on the move again to make way for the headquarters of Bloomberg.

In 1954, the temple was front-page news day after day, attracted half-mile queues and was watched across the nation on Movietone news. Its fate was anxiously discussed at cabinet meetings and watched with close interest by the prime minister, Winston Churchill.

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