Magpie Alley, EC4Y

Courtyard in/near City of London, existing between 1600 and now

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Courtyard · City of London · EC4Y ·

Magpie Alley marks the position occupied by the dorter (dormitory) of the Friary of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel, commonly called the Whitefriars Monastery

After the dissolution of the monasteries the whole of this area became infested with thieves and all sorts of law breakers. They came here claiming sanctuary from the jurisdiction of the City, a liberty enjoyed by the friars before them.

It seems that, along with many other taverns, the Magpie was flourishing in Whitefriars Street during the mid-18th century. The food dished up by the landlord was so poor that the place earned the title of the ‘maggot pie’. Naturally, later landlords were overjoyed that the corruption process had been at work and along the way it had been changed to the Magpie.

Over the years the layout of Magpie Alley and its neighbours seems to have become just a little confused. At one time the Alley left Whitefriars Street approximately opposite to the Harrow public house, but that access has now been stopped. Access from the main street is now via Brittons Court. Complications are further deepened through the obliteration of George Court which used to be the western extension of Magpie Alley (from Glasshouse Alley).

Citation information: The alleyways and courtyards of London: M – The Undergroun
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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.

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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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