Halfmoon Court is the southern most of five passages leading eastward from Kinghorn Street
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 once known as Half Moon Passage, its route used to continue round a curious dog-leg bend before emerging through a narrow covered passage into Aldersgate Street
, but the path was truncated earlier this century and is now only half its original length. Many of the neighbouring byways, tiny openings dotted here and there, have gone the same way as in other parts of London – sunken from view, forgotten and erased from the scene. There used to be an array of short connecting passages around here, some can still be found but most have either been sealed off or building developments have obliterated their very existence.
Here was the Half Moon Tavern. It stood on the corner of Aldersgate Street
, a place favoured in the 16th century by artists, writers, critics, or anyone feeling the need to engage in literary conversation. In 1866 one of these faithful clients wrote in a local paper that the Half Moon ‘is filled with carved woodwork of the most elaborate kind and the walls are curiously panelled’. The old tavern, with its projecting gables and quaint bow windows was certainly a striking feature in a street at that time largely deprived of character.
Taking time out from writing Bartholomew Fair
, Ben Jonson sauntered round the corner one morning for his daily tipple and found the door firmly locked. He rattled and banged for a while but unknown to him, the landlord had had a heavy night and was still in bed. With the occasional shake of the head and exaggerated tut he shuffled off to the Sun, another celebrated old haunt in Long Lane
Two hundred and fifty years after the death of Ben Jonson in 1637, the Half Moon was hanging on by the skin of its teeth. One by one the taverns around St Bartholomew’s were shutting up shop and the Half Moon echoed the call of ‘last orders’ for the final time in 1881. The Court is still here, much changed over the years, but it remains as a memorial to a dearly loved tavern.
There is still a good selection of pubs in the confines of St Bartholomew’s but reflecting on the area around the turn of the last century when literally every corner was a tavern door, it is now an ocean turned to desert.Citation information: The alleyways and courtyards of London » The Underground Ma
Citations, sources, links and further reading
|VIEW THE CITY OF LONDON AREA IN THE 1750s|
The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1750 map does not display.
|VIEW THE CITY OF LONDON AREA IN THE 1800s|
The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1800 map does not display.
|VIEW THE CITY OF LONDON AREA IN THE 1830s|
The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1830 map does not display.
|VIEW THE CITY OF LONDON AREA IN THE 1860s|
The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1860 map does not display.
|VIEW THE CITY OF LONDON AREA IN THE 1900s|
The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.
| ||Read blog|
We have featured this location on a blog entry.
Please note that our blog will open in a new window.
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.