Red Lion Court, EC4A

Red Lion Court forms part of labyrinth of little passages behind the shops on the north side of Fleet Street.

Although many of the old buildings have been replaced by modern structures these age-old byways hold a great deal of history and provide for a very satisfying stroll away from the hustle and bustle of Fleet Street.

The narrow passage of Red Lion Court branches from Fleet Street. A little way along, the passage widens out and here, until quite recently, stood the Red Lion tavern after which the Court was named. There has been a tavern in Red Lion Court since 1575 but unfortunately the long establishment came to an end when redevelopment encompassed the area. Just past the site of the tavern a right left kink leads to Pemberton Row where an arrow on the wall points right, under an archway, to Dr Johnson’s House in Gough Square.

As the Great Fire approached Red Lion Court, on its westward progression, it came up against a brick built house which gave the City fire fighters that much needed time to demolish buildings further along the way. By creating an open space over which the fire could not jump, it spread no further in this direction. But the blaze had already been roaring for three days and the total number of burnt out buildings, comprising of 13,000 houses, 84 churches, 44 company halls, and St Paul’s Cathedral was not far off.


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