Little Paternoster Row, E1

Road in/near Spitalfields, existed between the 1750s and 1928

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Road · Spitalfields · E1 ·
MARCH
30
2017

Little Paternoster Row was once known as French Alley.


It was a narrow alleyway running north-south from Brushfield Street to Dorset Street where it emerged between Nos.35 (Crossingham’s Lodging House) and 36 Dorset Street. Entry from Brushfield Street was via a covered archway next to the Oxford Arms public house at No.62.

In 1888, Little Paternoster Row was lined on its west side by a row of tenements and on its east side by Crossingham’s.

Little Paternoster Row was classed as ’black’ (vicious, semi-criminal) in Charles Booth’s 1898 map of London Poverty. The surveyor’s original notebook entries describe it thus:
"2 & 3 storey common lodging houses. Ragged women, children, holey toeless boots; windows dirty patched with brown paper and broken. Prostitutes, thieves and ponces. Buildings owned by the notorious Jack McCarthy of Dorset Street."

It was demolished in 1928 along with the north side of Dorset Street to make way for extensions to Spitalfields Market.

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Spitalfields

Spitalfields is near to Liverpool Street station and Brick Lane.

The area straddles Commercial Street and is home to several markets, including the historic Old Spitalfields Market, and various Brick Lane Markets on Brick Lane and Cheshire Street. Petticoat Lane Market lies on the area's south-western boundaries.

The name Spitalfields appears in the form Spittellond in 1399; as The spitel Fyeld on the 16th-century Civitas Londinium map associated with Ralph Agas. The land belonged to St Mary Spital, a priory or hospital erected on the east side of the Bishopsgate thoroughfare in 1197, and the name is thought to derive from this. An alternative, and possibly earlier, name for the area was Lolsworth.

After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Spitalfields was inhabited by prosperous French Huguenot silk weavers. In the early 19th century their descendants were reduced to a deplorable condition due to the competition of the Manchester textile factories and the area began to deteriorate into crime-infested slums. The spacious and handsome Huguenot houses were divided up into tiny dwellings which were rented by poor families of labourers, who sought employment in the nearby docks.

The area has recently attracted a IT-literate younger population.
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