Aldersgate Street, EC2Y

Road in/near City of London, existing until now

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Road · City of London · EC2Y ·
JUNE
7
2018

Aldersgate Street is located on the west side of the Barbican Estate.


Originally Aldersgate Street was only the section starting from the church of St Botolph without Aldersgate towards Long Lane. The portion of the road from Long Lane to Goswell Street (after 1864 Goswell Road) was formerly named Pickax Street. This name may derive from Pickt Hatch, an area of brothels said to be in this part of London during the Elizabethan era.

Pick Hatch is mentioned in The Merry Wives of Windsor ("Goe … to your Mannor of Pickt-hatch") and in The Alchemist ("The decay’d Vestalls of Pickt-hatch"). By the late eighteenth century the name Pickax was no more in use, and the road was fully incorporated into Aldersgate Street.

Barbican Underground station is located on Aldersgate Street and when it was opened in 1865 was named Aldersgate Street tube station. In 1910 it was renamed Aldersgate, then Aldersgate & Barbican in 1924, before finally being renamed Barbican in 1968.

28 Aldersgate Street is the approximate former location of a Moravian Church. On 24 May 1738, attending a meeting at the church, the clergyman John Wesley underwent a profound religious experience. The following year, he broke with the Moravians and founded the Methodist Society of England. The yearly anniversary of his experience is celebrated by Methodists as Aldersgate Day. Wesley’s Chapel, in nearby City Road, remains a major focal point of the worldwide Methodist movement.

The poet Thomas Flatman was born in a house in Aldersgate Street in 1633. As with most historic buildings on this stretch of road, the building no longer stands. At Nos. 35-38 stood Shaftesbury House, built around 1644 by Inigo Jones. It was demolished in 1882.

No. 134 for many years had a sign claiming: "This was Shakespeare’s House". Although the building was very close to the nearby Fortune Playhouse, there is no documentary evidence surviving to indicate that Shakespeare resided here; a subsidy roll from 1598 shows a "William Shakespeare" as owner of the property, but there is nothing to indicate that it is the playwright. The building no longer exists, and Barbican station now occupies the site. The nearby Shakespeare Tower is named for this (tenuous) connection.

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City of London

The City of London constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the conurbation has since grown far beyond its borders.

As the City's boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, it is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of Greater London, though it remains a notable part of central London. It holds city status in its own right and is also a separate ceremonial county.

It is widely referred to as 'The City' (often written on maps as City and differentiated from the phrase 'the city of London') or 'the Square Mile' as it is 1.12 square miles in area. These terms are also often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom's financial services industry, which continues a notable history of being largely based in the City.

The local authority for the City, the City of London Corporation, is unique in the UK and has some unusual responsibilities for a local council, such as being the police authority. It also has responsibilities and ownerships beyond the City's boundaries. The Corporation is headed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, an office separate from (and much older than) the Mayor of London.

The City is a major business and financial centre, ranking as the world's leading centre of global finance. Throughout the 19th century, the City was the world's primary business centre, and continues to be a major meeting point for businesses.

The City had a resident population of about 7000 in 2011 but over 300,000 people commute to it and work there, mainly in the financial services sector. The legal profession forms a major component of the northern and western sides of the City - especially in the Temple and Chancery Lane areas where the Inns of Court are located, of which two—Inner Temple and Middle Temple - fall within the City of London boundary.
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