Updated: Jun 10, 2020
St Mary Axe was originally called St Mary’s Street.
In the London Street names book of 1896, FH Habben, states that ‘ ‘in olden times, here stood a church dedicated to St Mary the Virgin, St Ursula, and the eleven thousand virgins – a dedication equal in amplitude to any emergency’ . The axe reference is thought to be the holy relic of the axe that the Virgins of St. Ursula were beheaded with.
The Church of St Mary Axe was demolished in 1561 and its parish united with that of St Andrew Undershaft, which is situated on the corner of St. Mary Axe and Leadenhall Street. The site of the former church is now occupied by Fitzwilliam House,
The street St. Mary Axe is also famous for the Baltic Exchange which was destroyed by an IRA bomb in 1992) and The Gherkin but also known as the Swiss Re Building. It was designed by Fosters and Partners and opened in 2004. It has 41 floors, and is 180 metres (591 ft) tall.
It still remains one of the most iconic modern buildings in the City of London,
Gherkin 30 St Mary Axe map