I'm not sure I thought it would be a life memory at the time but I can vividly remember when my Dad and I came to London, as we often did for coin fairs and museum visits, and I insisted that I wanted to visit the London Mithraeum.  We walked for what seemed an age, past a host of significant monuments of Regency and Victorian London, and working off a pocket guide book to Roman Britain and an A-Z we finally arrived.

There on a windswept platform were the stone foundations, footings and indicative shape of the surviving elements of this Temple of Mithras. I was just 15/16 years old.  The fascination of that visit has stayed with me ever since.

Of all the gods of Ancient Rome few held my imagination: those that did were Sol, the depiction of rivers as gods, Aesculapius and of course Mithras.  I'm not sure what it was about Mithras - the famous Phrygian cap, the  sacrifice of the full blooded bull, the busts of the God themselves with their almost drunken, mystical middle distance gaze and of course the sense of ritual and club and belonging.

But in short it would appear that the internal mithraeum was itself an inner sanctum dining and feasting space. Far from being a temple of contemplation and devotion as we would envisage a church or place of worship these were places of meeting.  What is now clear is that being a follower of Mithras was a clique, a select few, probably men only, lots of food, lots of drink and possibly intoxication.  

And unlike the windswept exposed platform of old (discovered 1952 uncovered 1962 and purchased by Bloomberg in 2010) this new Mithraeum conveys all the character, intimacy and indeed private gloom of that men's club.  Let me also lay out my appreciation of what Bloomberg have done.  They have taken a treasure, polished it, placed it in a protective casing and massively enhanced the visitor experience bringing it back into public awareness. Thanks to Bloomberg - a superb example of successful partnership between archaeology and history and business.

By moving the Mithraeum inside (it is now under the Bloomberg tower) it has encapsulated the sunken, conspiratorial, properly and darkly lit sense of Roman times I think, but also drawing out the plaster, paint and wooden fixtures that were so absent from the stone layout. The new Mithraeum has character, menace, mystery and plenty of unknown elements yet to be discovered.  

I was excited and determined to go back to see the Mithraeum after all these years and I can assert just how much better set, enhanced, reseeached and presented it is.  Just go. It's free and there are so very few of see fascinating Temples in Britain and certainly few with this scale of modern investment - I heartily recommend it.  

And before I sign this off - thanks to my Dad who tramped across London with me that Saturday 30 years ago to find the temple and with so many other gestures and trips like that my Mum and Dad together activated and invested in my love of the Roman world.  It worked.