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Mar 17

The alleyways and courtyards of London

A guide to the alleys, courts, passages and yards of Central London

by Ivor Hoole


This page is taken from Ivor Hoole’s defunct GeoCities site listing the alleys and courtyards in Central London, last updated in 2004 and now taken offline.
The Underground Map blog lists this information as is, with no claim of copyright.


On the 5th July 1763 Dr Johnson, advising his long suffering biographer, Boswell, said ‘Sir, if you wish to have a just notion of the magnitude of this city, you must not be satisfied with seeing its great streets and squares, but must survey its innumerable little lanes and courts.’ Many years ago I decided to take the good doctor up on his recommendation and became so enthralled in what I saw and read that the inclination to write about them came quite naturally.

I have researched over 400 byways, and on this site I present the result of my rambles. In each entry I have attempted to relay a combination of features. Historical events are, of course, high on the list and where there are tales to tell I have included sufficient detail to more than whet the appetite. Stories of yesteryear will stir the enthusiasm of most people if characterised with the right flavourings and I have highlighted the well known, the not so well known, the forgotten adventures associated with each byway, together with a description of these places in today’s world. Many of these tiny thoroughfares have associations with notable or famous people and no matter whether these are of times past or of more recent years, I have made mention as appropriate. Each entry begins with directions, usually from an easily identifiable point; this is followed by details of public transport – i.e., nearest Underground station and bus routes, with the most convenient alighting stops.

For various reasons I have confined the area of concentration to Central London, and for ease I have defined this area as being that covered by EC1, EC2, EC3, EC4, WC1, WC2, W1, SW1 and SE1 (Southwark only).

A great many of the byways of Central London are richly endowed with characterful events, courts whose very walls are blackened by age, sometimes leaning, sometimes bulging. Alleys, some so narrow as to barely allow the passage of a single body, where the paving slabs are worn hollow by the passage of centuries of tramping feet. By contrast there are the humble back waters which recline in a more sombre past – characterless passages, with no apparent antiquarian values. There are those which over the years have been greatly widened, reshaped, and effectively removed from the categories of ‘alley’ or ‘passage’ in all but their surviving name. Others have been overtaken by dereliction, lying in wait of eventual extinction through modern developments.

Some of these unobtrusive byways give up the history of their past very readily whilst others have little to tell, and even after delving into the depths of time reveal only a modicum of general interest. Nevertheless, my aim was to include all byways designated as alley, court, passage, or yard and this I have endeavoured to do, be there pages to divulge or merely a fistful of words. Undoubtedly, there will be omissions, simply arising from my own inability to track them all down. Likewise, there may be some which, due to the constant reshaping of the City and West End, have very recently disappeared through redevelopment projects, although in most cases I have been able to foresee an eventual obliteration and consequently made allowances.

I cannot leave this introduction without giving mention of two establishment licensees who provided me with necessary sustenance during my research:

Don at the Mitre Tavern, Ely Court, EC1 (after many years, Don retired in November 2004)
Gerry O’Brien, the characterful licensee at the Churchill Arms, Kensington Church Street, W8

Site updated 29th August 2004


 

Abchurch Yard EC4
UG: Cannon Street/Monument/Bank
Bus: 15 17 25 521 To King William Street

From Monument Station cross to the north side of Cannon Street and continue in a westerly direction. Cross Nicholas Lane and then turn right into Abchurch Lane. Abchurch Yard is almost immediately on the left.

This is one of those retreats in which London is so abundantly rich. Although not one of the City’s most secluded byways, it is ideally situated at the side of a tiny lane – an antique area that has changed little in layout since the 12th century.

The bulk of Abchurch Yard, a paved square lying to the south of St Mary Abchurch, was once the graveyard to this outstanding church, and now, during the summer months, is prettily decked with five large tubs of colourful flowers. From the seats arranged along the church wall you can take time out to watch the scurrying lunchtime herds making for Punters Restaurant and Wine Bar on the west side. Leading from the ‘square’, along the west side of Wren’s red bricked church, is the old churchyard path, now formed as a narrow lane but retaining, through its name (this is still Abchurch Yard), a link with centuries past.

The present church was built in 1681 after its predecessor was destroyed on the 3rd September 1666, a victim of the Great Fire. Although it is one of the smallest of Wren’s City churches, the almost square interior is made to appear spacious by the great dome, pierced by stained glass circular windows and richly painted by John Snow in 1708. The magnificent reredos by Grinling Gibbons is one of the largest in London, its central pinnacle almost touching the rim of the dome. Interestingly, the churchwardens’ pews still retain the dog kennels beneath the seats, a feature quite common until the 19th century, but now rarely encountered.

St Mary Abchurch was severely damaged in World War II when much of the internal woodwork was shattered and the reredos blown into thousands of pieces. Restoration work carried out in 1953 has returned the place to its former glory. At the time of renovation the floor of the church was lowered to its original level and in the process the crypt of the previous church was uncovered, restored, and opened to public view.

Abchurch is one of those curious names of old London and may have derived from the church builder or whoever donated the money to fund its building. In years gone by the patron of a church was often commemorated by having his name tagged on to the dedication; in the case of St Mary Abchurch the origin is far from clear. It could have come from the Latin, abbatia – the head of a monastic community, or abbas – a monk, even the French, abbé – a priest. John Stow says that he has seen it spelt as Apechurch and Upchurch; a reference to the first church on the site has it as ‘Habechirce’ which makes the matter even more confusing. Although it is unlikely that a religious community ever inhabited the church, it is possible that such a community financed its building.
Addle Hill EC4
UG: St Paul’s
Bus: Any to St Paul’s

From the south west corner of St Paul’s Cathedral turn into Dean’s Court. Turn right into Carter Lane and left into Addle Hill

In this quaint and marginally pretty locality, where the City almost seems to have stood still, Addle Hill is the let-down. Once the stately home of a Saxon nobleman, from whence its name is derived (addle = noble), it has now turned full circle, just about falling into the category of abandoned, with a touch of shabbiness for added descriptive flavour. Almost every building on the west side is presently boarded up and seems destined to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

‘Addle’ came into common usage about six centuries ago when it applied to eggs that were empty or rotten and so produced nothing. In 1874 George Eliot wrote: ‘Speech is often barren; but silence also does not necessarily brood over a full nest. Your still fowl, blinking at you without remark, may all the while be sitting on one addled egg; and when it takes to cackling will have nothing to announce but that addled delusion.’ Dr Johnson, one hundred and twenty years earlier, screwed down the lid on any doubt relating to the modern-day definition when he discovered that the word was ‘now transferred to brains that produce nothing.’

Is it mere fate, or a happening that owes its circumstance to pure consequence that many of the buildings in Addle Hill now hold nothing, and produce nothing?
Alderman’s Walk EC2
UG: Liverpool Street
Bus: 8 11 23 26 35 47 48 100 133 141 172 214 271 505 to Liverpool Street Station

On the west side of Bishopsgate, about 40 yds south of the main line station. Between Liverpool Street and Wormwood Street.

Alderman’s Walk is one of those names that tend to spark off thoughts of summery strolls along well kept tree lined avenues. Indeed, if we were contemplating our walk in a suburban village or almost any place other than the City of London that is what we may very well expect to find. However, the City of London is where we are and Alderman’s Walk is not remotely like that. On the doorstep is Liverpool Street Station, the modernised gateway to eastern England; only yards away and visible from all angles of the City, the Natwest Tower reaches skyward; a mere stone’s throw away is the Bank, the ‘old lady’ who has her thumb on the hub of financial London.

This has been a busy section of the City for centuries; carts and trucks have been rumbling around here ever since the Romans built the Bishops Gate and opened up a main thoroughfare into the City. Despite all this turmoil Frances Dashwood, an 18th century Member of the Common Council of the City, liked it so much that he built his house here, on the south side of the Walk near to Old Broad Street. When Dashwood received a Knighthood the place became known as Dashwood’s Court until he was elected to the Court of Aldermen of the City of London and from that time the name changed to Alderman’s Walk.

Adjoining the Walk, on the south side, is the church of St Botolph, Bishopsgate, one of three surviving churches dedicated to the seventh century patron saint of travellers. The first church on this site was built about the beginning of the 13th century and was probably twice replaced before the 17th century. On Tuesday the 4th September 1666 St Botolph’s was shaking in its foundation as the Great Fire swept across the lower reaches of Bishopsgate, moving round to Throgmorton Street where it took the Drapers’ Hall. Although there was a sigh of relief when the danger was past, St Botolph’s was not in the best of repair and sixty years after the fire (1725) the church was demolished and rebuilt by James Gold. The unusual interior has two aisles separated from the nave by enormous Corinthian columns supporting a gallery running around the north, south and west sides. Strangely, the square tower is at the east end and therefore above the chancel and sanctuary, an arrangement only occasionally encountered. The marble fluted font is a relic of the 18th century, doubly celebrated because John Keates, poet, was baptised in it in 1795. In the graveyard of the old church Ben Jonson and his family gathered to mourn the passing of his young son, a tragic victim of the plague.

The church once controlled a charity school for fifty poor boys and girls. In 1861 the classrooms were transformed into the parish hall and it can be seen to the west of the church with two charming statues of the charity children; a boy and a girl each wearing a badge and holding a book.
Amen Corner EC4
UG: St Paul’s
Bus: Any to St Paul’s

From St Paul’s Station walk round the station and up the steps, continuing to Paternoster Square. Here turn left towards the Cathedral, down the steps, and then turn right. At the west front of St Paul’s continue for a few yards into Ludgate Hill and then turn right into Ave Maria Lane. Amen Corner is about 55 yds on the west side.

Originally called Amen Lane, this short ‘path’ forms the approach road to Amen Court. John Stow records it as ‘a short lane which runneth west some short distance, and is there closed up with a gate into a great house’. This ‘great house’ was none other than the College of Physicians. Founded in 1518 by Thomas Linacre, the College moved from his own house in Knightrider Street to the site of Amen Corner in about 1540. At the height of the Great Plague the physicians saw at close quarters the ravages caused by the epidemic and fled for their lives. Rumours of the empty house soon spread among the throng of thieves and vagabonds who broke in and used it to hide from their raging victims. Less than twelve months later the flames of the Great Fire swept along the lanes and alleys around St Paul’s, taking in their path St Paul’s School and then the Stationers’ Hall, but so far the old Cathedral stood in defiance. From the Stationers’ it moved along Ave Maria Lane and by the evening of Tuesday 4th September (1666) the College of Physicians was no more. In the aftermath they established themselves only a few yards away, in Warwick Lane, then, in later years, in Pall Mall where they stayed until 1964 before moving to brand-new premises at Regent’s Park. Just as Stow portrayed it all those years ago, a locked gate is still there to this day and access is only permitted on application to the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral.

John Carey, writing in an edition of the Gentleman’s Magazine of 1828 offers the following suggestion for the original naming of these ‘ecclesiastical’ streets: ‘Let us suppose processioners mustered and marshalled at upper end of Paternoster Row next Cheapside. These commence to march westward, and begin to chant the Paternoster, continued this whole length of the street (thence Paternoster Row). On arrival at bottom of the street they enter Ave Maria Lane, at the same time beginning to chant the Salutation of the Virgin – Ave Maria – which continues until reaching Ludgate Hill, and crossing over to Creed Lane. They there commence the chant of the Credo, which continues until they reach the spot now called Amen Corner, where they sing the concluding Amen.’
Budge Row EC4
UG: Cannon Street
Bus: 6 8 9 11 15 21 22 23 25 43 76

Off the north side of Cannon Street, about 80 yds west of the main line station.

‘A street so called of the Budge furre and of skinners dwelling there’. This ‘Budge furre’ to which John Stow referred was a sort of woolly material prepared from lamb’s skin.

About 500 years ago the area surrounding here was closely associated with the clothing trade. If you had walked along Cannon Street in those times you would probably have seen a representation of few other trades than drapers and skin merchants selling their wares. In the adjoining alleys and courts the wives of traders would be busy throughout the day and night making up articles of clothing for the stalls. It was no coincidence, but for local convenience, that the Skinners Company, in 1327, established their Hall in nearby Dowgate Hill and have held their gatherings there ever since.

It might be of interest to note that women of the day were restricted in their choice of clothing according to their status. In 1338, and again twenty years later, the City authorities ordered that women of low standing should not wear clothing made from buge or wool. If the like had bought an old fur coat for a penny or two at the local jumble sale her fate could well have been a prison sentence for wearing it.

Since the years of World War II, Budge Row has seen many changes; it now survives as a pedestrian way, covered at its southern end by a large concrete block of offices. Even the line of its path has changed direction since chess fanatics from the City wide scurried along here to book a table at the Gambit Café. They didn’t come to discus the minutes of last week’s chess club meeting, whilst at the same time satisfying the needs of a grumbling belly – but to play. Every table was equipped with its own chequered board and the gobbling was ancillary to the game – the waiters’ cue was on the call of ‘check mate’.

Most notable of all memories associated with Budge Row is the church with an original dedication to St Anthony but from very early years called St Antholin’s. It stood at the northern end of the Row, on a site previously occupied by three predecessors. The first church was probably founded during the 12th century but complete rebuilding took place about 1400 and again in 1513. On Monday 3rd September 1666, almost as the bells stopped pealing from evensong of the previous day, Mr Farriners Great Fire was lapping at the doors of Watling Street. It took hold of St Mary Aldermary, across the road, and then leapt onto St Antholin’s, reducing it to ashes within minutes and leaving its bells as a pool of molten metal. Christopher Wren completed the rebuilding in 1682, topping his creation with the most slender spire imaginable. In 1874, many years after the death of Wren, and when they thought he would not mind, the diocese declared St Antholin’s redundant and pulled it down. The spire was sold as scrap for five pounds but someone considered it worthy of preservation and erected its upper part in the garden of Roundhill House at Sydenham in Kent.

The Wren church of St Antholin once stood on the corner of Budge Row. It was demolished in 1875 to clear a site for the new Queen Victoria Street. In more recent years considerable redevelopment has taken place and the Row is not as it used to be. Surrounded and covered by a 13 storey modern office block and paved in Tarmac, the name is all that survives of the old alley.

Dean’s Yard SW1
UG: Westminster
Bus: 3 11 12 24 29 53 88 94

From the west end (main entrance) to Westminster Abbey through the gateway in the row of offices called The Sanctuary.

Dean’s Yard is quite different from the rest of the yards covered in this book – yards which are usually associated with inns and taverns, consisting merely of an alley or at the extreme, an alley leading to a small courtyard. In contrast Dean’s Yard is a large quadrangle and is entered through a grand archway situated amid a row eight Gothic style houses, built in 1854 as part of the Westminster Improvement Act. Before that time, the area to the west of the Abbey was littered with several narrow streets and alleys which, unofficially, retained the privilege of sanctuary, stemming from monastic days. Behind these houses, Dean’s Yard is made up of a lawn with scattered trees, forming the Abbey gardens, and on the four sides there are a variety of old and not so old buildings. Until the late 18th century this was a relatively small place with only a tiny patch of greenery, where the bulk of the space was taken up by the bakehouse, the brewery, and the grain store.

The oldest of the buildings are to be found on the east side of the quadrangle. In the north east corner is a small side entrance formerly used by the monks as their private way into the Abbey via the cloisters. Right of here is number 17, the house occupied by the Headmaster of Westminster School and further along, through a worn archway, is the entrance to the school.

There is evidence that the Benedictine monks had their own school here as early as the 12th century; it functioned quite happily until Henry VIII dissolved the monastery in 1533, ousted the community and, with no masters, the school was abandoned. A few years later the Abbey was given the status of Cathedral and the school was reformed under the title of the King’s Grammar School with places for 40 pupils. Two years after the crowning of Elizabeth I in 1558 she re-established the original Westminster School. The buildings which face Dean’s Yard are the restored old monastic buildings but much of the school is housed in later buildings of the 17th and 18th century around Little Dean’s Yard. Before the Yard was laid out in 1790 Little Dean’s Yards was no more than a cobbled lane leading through to College Garden.

The school now educates some 850 pupils including forty Queen’s Scholar’s and about 80 girls, first admitted after a decision made in 1972. Among its celebrated pupils of Westminster have been Ben Jonson, Christopher Wren, Charles Wesley, Edward Gibbon, William Cowper, and in our own time, Andrew Lloyd Weber. The ceremony of tossing the pancake takes place on Shrove Tuesday every year with one boy from each form competing. At the appointed time the chef tosses the pancake high in the air and the pupil retrieving the largest piece of pancake is rewarded by the Dean of Westminster.

On the north side of Little Dean’s Yard is Ashburnham House, formerly the mansion of the Earls of Ashburnham. It was built in the 1660’s incorporating some of the structure of the ancient Prior’s House, previously on the site. Ashburnham House now houses the library, which is open to the public Monday to Friday during the Easter school holiday.

Moving round Dean’s Yard to the south side is Church House, the headquarters of the National Assembly of the Church of England and a number of associated societies, built by Sir Herbert Baker in 1940. When the Houses of Parliament were bombed in the Second World War, Church House was used as a debating chamber for both the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Church House itself was also a victim of the war when the Assembly Hall suffered structural damage. It was restored in 1951.
Durham House Street WC2
UG: Charing Cross
Bus: Any to Charing Cross/Trafalgar Square

Turn right out of Charing Cross ML Station and immediately right again down Villiars Street. turn left into John Adam Street and continue for about 100 yds. Durham House Street is on the left.

‘On the south side of the which street, in the liberties of Westminster (beginning at Ivy bridge), first is Durham house, built by Thomas Hatfielde, bishop of Durham, who was made bishop of that see in the year 1545, and sat bishop there thirty-six years.’

If John Stow had turned back a page or two in his reference books he would have found that the Bishops of Durham had held land here from about 1220. Their inn, or mansion, first built around this time for Richard le Poor, faced onto the Strand behind a grand gatehouse, with its chapel and banqueting hall reaching down to the banks of the Thames. What Stow was looking at was a wooden replacement for the old house, built after the Reformation.

When Thomas Cromwell drew up the schedule for religious house closures, Durham House was high on the list, and only three years after Henry VIII declared a severance with the church of Rome it fell into the hands of the Crown. Henry, who at this time was beginning to acquire too much property to cope with, made a gift of the house to the Earl of Wiltshire, and when he had finished with it, it became the home of Princess Elizabeth. Within the walls of Durham House Lady Jane Grey gave up her freedom and her life when she pronounced those terminal words, ‘I do’; here she stayed until that fateful day when she was taken by barge on her final journey along the Thames to the Tower.

Originally this was two separate streets. The part directly off John Adam Street was James Street and the continuation round the bend was William Street.

When profoundly Roman Catholic Queen Mary succeeded to the throne she returned the House to the Bishop of Durham, but Elizabeth I was not at all pleased with the Bishop so she terminated his position and seized the house. Sir Walter Raleigh was next on the scene and while he remained in the Queen’s good books, carried on his affairs at the house, but when he lost favour he also lost his house, and a little while after, his head followed suit. For a short period the Bishop of Durham returned but could not hit it off with his neighbour, Lord Salisbury, and so quit for all time. As time elapsed the fabric deteriorated, the house fell into disrepair and was demolished. The land was leased out to various building speculators who each erected their individual groups of small houses and sold them off to traders and small-time business men. By 1750 the area had become a place of squalor and the houses were so in need of repair that many of them were on the verge of falling down.

In 1768 the site aroused the interest of the Adam brothers, John, Robert, James and William, for inclusion in their major building project, later to be known as the Adelphi – (Adelphoi = brothers), and they obtained a lease on the land from the Bishop of Durham. Building commenced in 1772 and the complex of streets as we see them today were all laid out to their plan. It was the first riverside housing complex to be built in London; an estate of charming properties built to a regular plan developed by the brothers. To the south, along the riverside, they constructed a series of ground-level arches on which was built the Royal Terrace, a line of four storey houses facing the Thames. Unfortunately the elaborate houses they built didn’t sell and the project ended up in financial disaster. Finally the properties were disposed of by selling lottery tickets.

Catastrophically, the Victorian’s held little regard for the Adam’s creations, adding cumbersome balconies, other out-of-place adornments, and covering the frontages with a hideous stucco finish. In 1936, it was the disease of 20th century man – a compulsion to replace merely for the sake of it – that won the day when almost the entire line of the Royal Terrace was pulled down. All traces of the past buildings have gone except for the Royal Society of Arts building at number eight John Adam Street, erected in 1774. Opposite the rear side of the RSA a flight of steps ascends onto the Strand.

Finsbury Court EC2 (demolished)
UG: Moorgate
Bus: 9 11 21 43 76 141 To Finsbury Pavement

From Moorgate Station walk north along the west side of Moorgate for about 140 yds and cross Ropemaker Street. Continue straight ahead for a further 35 yds and the site of Finsbury Court is on the left.

Finsbury Court is included here purely for its historical and reference value – it was obliterated in a recent redevelopment programme taking in Finsbury Pavement. Even so, the entrance to the Court can easily be traced, adjacent to number 125 where it now forms the access to the underground car park for Lloyd’s Bank.

Finsbury Court was the minor of the great Finsbury’s; every Londoner has heard of the well known Square and the equally famed Circus, most will have heard mention of the Street and perhaps the not so famous Avenue. Few, however, will be able to pin-point the site of the narrow little Court which used to link Finsbury Pavement and Finsbury Street. It is hardly surprising since nobody actually went to it and only a minority of those who were familiar with its presence passed through it. Guide books by ritual failed to allow it even a fleeting mention, and history books in their endeavours to tell a good story disregard it in favour of the more prominent Circus and Square. As truly as these two monsters do hog the lime-light Finsbury Court held a central position, albeit a small one, in the history surrounding this area.

Two hundred and fifty years ago, when the citizens of London thought their City had expanded outward from the centre as far as was physically possible, green fields lay only yards from the Royal Exchange. The boundary of the City was then London Wall and to the north the drainage from the higher grounds of Hampstead and Islington settled, forming a vast area of marsh land totally unsuitable for even the most adventurous attempts at building. Numerous unsuccessful attempts had been made to drain the land and notably, in 1511 Sir Roger Acheley achieved a degree of headway by constructing a culvert to channel the water into the Walbrook, a little to the west, and thereby into the Thames. The problem was that the narrowing of the channel as it passed through the City wall was constantly blocked up with rubbish which caused the water to overflow back into the fields. In its water-logged state, Finsbury Fields became the City playground with annual events such as winter skating on the solid ice.

A little to the north, the ‘bury of Finn’, a large manor house, had stood since at least the 15th century on the site of the junction between Finsbury Pavement and Chiswell Street. It was a large fortress style building with several outhouses and spacious courtyard enclosed by a wall around three sides. Finsbury Court occupied the site of a pathway running along the southern courtyard wall of the manor house. Its length would have been approximate to that of the old Court which ran through to Finsbury Street, but for what reason it was made is unclear; there was no access way into the courtyard via the southern wall and the path seemed to lead from nowhere, to nowhere. It can only be assumed that it started out as a track, worn by pedestrians making their way along the northern edges of the boggy land.

Until the early 15th century the Roman wall was continuous along the southern stretch of Finsbury Fields, with no way through between Bishopsgate and Cripplegate. The boggy moor of Finsbury Fields was about mid-way between the two gates, and although the people of London had been pleading for a means of direct access to the ‘recreation facilities’ for years, nothing was done. There are some who hold the belief that Moor Gate was a relic of the Roman era, but it actually came about through the consideration of Thomas Falconer, Lord Mayor in 1414. Not only did Falconer breach the wall and erect a gate, he was successful in raising a ridge of land sufficiently high enough to lay a dry path across the fields to link with the more solid ground near the manor house and beyond. This path, of which Finsbury Court was a tributary, has carried the same name of Finsbury Pavement through the centuries to the present day.
Gardeners Lane EC4
UG: Mansion House
Bus: 11 15 17 23 26 76 172 To Friday Street

From Mansion House Station (Cannon Street south side) walk down Garlick Hill. At Upper Thames Street turn right and in about 150 yds cross to the south side via the pedestrian crossing. Gardeners Lane is almost opposite.

Squashed into a distance of less than 300 yards along the south side of Upper Thames Street there are no less than eight little alleyways all with a character of their own. Almost all have suffered a name change over the years, for example, High Timber Street used to be called Timber Hythe and Gardeners Lane was the rather less appealing Dunghill Lane. The scene here is currently changing daily as developers demolish one building after another and ultra modern replacements spring into position almost as quickly as the old ones vanish.

A few yards to the west of Gardeners Lane is Broken Wharf, now modernised and only the narrowness of the lane remains as evidence of its ancient past. To the east is Queenhythe which used to lead down to the Queenhythe Dock first mentioned in the 9th century, and is notable for two firsts: The earliest London fish market was established here, and in the 12th century London’s premier public toilet, built by Henry I’s Queen Matilda, occupied the site. Queenhythe still retains a morsel of its latter day character, in the shape of an isolated warehouse and overhanging crane but I fear that the demolition gangs already have it in their sights. Next, continuing east, Bull Wharf Lane is a derelict site; all the buildings are flattened and building is about to commence. Likewise, Kennet Wharf Lane has lost its old warehouses and the developers are currently at work changing its shape. At the far eastern end of the cluster is Vintners Place where the wine merchants of Bordeaux toiled at the quayside unloading their cargo. Because of a lack of storage space the wines had to be sold within forty days of arrival and so the merchants would often be doing deals with the local tavern owners as the cases were landed. This situation was far from satisfactory and in 1300 the merchants made a complaint to the King spelling out the simple facts that much of the wine had to be sold for well below the market value in order to dispose of it quickly or the whole was likely to be stolen. The King lent a sympathetic ear and arranged for the building of warehouses with cellars along with accommodation for the merchants.

All these lanes used to lead down to steps at the Thames side where barges unloaded their various cargoes for storage in the high built wharves which, like those of the wine merchants, began to spring up all along the waters edge. Some of these one time narrow passages still reach down to the water side but others have been cut short and are now linked together in the recently opened Thames Side Walk. Here there are gardens with ample seating and an unhindered panoramic view of the Thames.

Back in Gardeners Lane there used to be set into the wall a curious little figure of a man leaning on a spade with the date of 1670 above his shoulders. Indeed the history of this small area goes back a long, long way and although the developers in recent years have made an impression on the place you can still just about savour an air of old London’s Thames side.
Great Turnstile WC2
UG: Chancery Lane
Bus: Any to Holborn (Chancery Lane Station)

Off the south side of High Holborn, approx 300 yds west of Chancery Lane Station, just by the London Weather Centre

When the area around here was largely open space and cattle grazed in the fields to the south, known as Cup Field, Fickett’s Field, and Purse Field, a turnstile in a narrow lane allowed the passage of pedestrians but prevented the straying of cattle. This lane, sometimes known as Turne Style Lane, was the main access to the group of fields from the highway and was therefore called ‘Great’ to distinguish it from another turnstile (Little Turnstile) further west. When the turnstile was abandoned the alley was built up with shops and became what was described in 1720 as ‘a great thoroughfare’ having the shops of milliners and shoemakers. When these traders moved out the alley was taken over by literary buffs, housing bookshops and publishing houses. Until earlier this century there were four sturdy wooden posts fixed into the ground at the entrance to the alley, they served as a reminder of the restrictions imposed by the old turnstile. On the south- west corner stood the Turnstile Tavern but, alas, that was many years ago and today not a single stick of evidence remains. It was closed in 1640 and subsequently given over to the Council.

To the south of Great Turnstile is Lincoln’s Inn Fields, formed under that name in the early 17th century out of the three previously named fields – Cup, Fickett’s, and Purse. Until the early 18th century a path crossing these fields was a perilous place to tread. By day it was a favourite resort of beggars and hired children who often used violence on unsuspecting victims in order to relieve them of anything worth having. By night, thieves lurked in the darkness ready to pounce on anyone daring to travel the lonely road. The fields, in the course of time, have been witness to events ranging from tragedy to comedy. It was here that Babington and his scheming band were put to death after their planned conspiracy to oust Queen Elizabeth from the English throne and replace her with Mary of Scotland. For his supposed involvement in the Rye House Plot, Lord William Russell was executed in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

On the 29th January 1727 the first staging of John Gray’s The Beggar’s Opera took place at the Lincoln’s Inn Playhouse, on the south side of the Fields. This was also the venue for Thomas Arne’s first opera Rosamund, performed here in 1733.

John Gray knew this area well and probably suffered at the hands of muggers on more occasions than one; he gives this warning and advice to anyone contemplating a crossing:

‘Where Lincoln’s Inn wide space is railed around,
Cross not with venturous step; there oft is found
The lurking thief, who while the daylight shone
Made the wall echo with his begging tone:
That crutch which late compassion moved shall wound
Thy bleeding head and fell thee to the ground.
Though thou art tempted by the linkman’s call,
Yet trust him not along the lonely wall;
In the midway he’ll quench the flaming brand,
And share thy booty with the pilfering band.
Still keep the public streets, where oily rays,
Shot from the crystal lamps, o’erspread the ways.’

Hansard, the Government publication which records the business of the House of Commons first saw the light of day in Great Turnstile. In 1797 Luke Hansard, a printer from Norwich inherited a business together with a contract for the printing of Government papers. However, it was not until 1892, long after Hansard’s death, that the publication was produced under his name.

At the end of Great Turnstile, to the right, is a narrow turning into the quiet backwater called Whetstone Park. On its appearance today we may be coaxed to conclude that it has always been that way – but how wrong that would be. A local rag of 1682 puts to right any deception: ‘500 apprentices, and such like, being got together in Smithfield, went into Lincoln’s Inn Fields, where they drew up, and marching into Whetstone Park, fell upon the lewd houses there, where, having broken open the doors, they entered, and made great spoil of the goods; of which the constables and watchmen having noticed, and not finding themselves strong enough to quell the tumult, procured a party of the King’s guards, who dispersed them, and took eleven, who were committed to New Prison.’ This was not an isolated incident; the same gang, on being released from the cells ‘came again, and made worse havoc than before, breaking down all the doors and windows and cutting the feather beds and goods in pieces.’ It was all part of everyday life in Whetstone Park where theft and violence flourished hand in hand with the antics of ladies who lived by immoral earnings.
Great Trinity Lane EC4
UG: Mansion House
Bus: 6 9 11 15 17 23 76 95 To Mansion House station

From Mansion House Station (Cannon Street south side) turn down Garlick Hill. In about 35 yds turn right.

In this old Lane stood the church of Holy Trinity the Less, so named because it was smaller than the Augustinian Priory of the Holy Trinity, in Aldgate – St Katherine Cree now stands on the site of the Priory cemetery. Holy Trinity the Less was consecrated at some time in the early 14th century but when John Stow passed by here in 1598 he noticed that it was ‘in danger of down falling’. He says that a collection had been organised to pay for the repairs but the parishioners had to wait for another nine years before sufficient funds were raised. Even then, the kitty was short to the tune of several pounds allowing for only essential work; it was 1629 before finances provided for completion of the renovation. On the 3rd September 1666 the wildest furnace the City had ever witnessed raged around these lanes and destroyed the work of over thirty years saving, in minutes. Holy Trinity was never rebuilt and the parish was annexed to that of St Michael Queenhyth. In actual fact the church was not in Great Trinity Lane at all, but in Knightrider Street, which at that time continued from the south side of St Paul’s Churchyard along the line of Old Change Court, Great Trinity Lane, Great Saint Thomas Apostle, and part of Cloak Lane. The names of these streets were changed when the City was rebuilt after the fire.

All the houses in the Lane were demolished in 1888 in the building of Mansion House Underground station. Included in the work area was a vital Alley – Jack’s Alley – providing access to Keen’s Mustard factory. Although every effort was made to maintain a right of way the task was flawed with problems and it became evident that the only solution was to clear the Alley away. However, the right of way still existed and the factory owners enforced the construction of an iron foot bridge; it still retained the name of Jack’s Alley.
Great Saint Helen’s EC3
UG: Bank/Liverpool Street
Bus: 8 25 26 35 43 47 48 149 To Bishopsgate/Threadneedle Street

From Bank Station walk along Threadneedle Street by the side of the Royal Exchange and continue to the junction with Bishopsgate. Cross to the east side of Bishopsgate. Great Saint Helen’s is then about 130 yds.

Within a few feet of leaving Bishopsgate, this narrow passage widens out into a courtyard, where the church of St Helen forms the backdrop. Belief has it that a church built by the Emperor Constantine existed on this site during the 4th century although there is no documented evidence supporting the existence of any church prior to 1010. The present church, dedicated to the mother of Constantine, Helena, was erected in the early 13th century and is one of the oldest religious establishments in the City.

St Helen’s, Bishopsgate is an oddity among the London churches. Unlike many other parish churches that were first established as monastic houses and only transferred to parochial use after the Reformation, St Helen’s was built as a parish church and in later years incorporated a Benedictine convent. About 1212 William Basing, a sheriff of the City, was granted permission by the Dean and Canons of St Paul’s to build a priory for Benedictine nuns, whilst still retaining the existing church for parochial use.

The nuns built their church adjoining the north side of St Helen’s, with convenient doors and passages leading off to their domestic quarters; hence there are two parallel naves. There was no static dividing wall, but merely a high screen over which the naughty nuns would call out and waive to the congregation in the south nave. Frivolity among the community was common place, with excessively loud singing, dancing and hysterical laughter frequently causing a disturbance to the worshipping parishioners. Yapping dogs, owned by the mother superior, were allowed to roam about the church wearing outrageous veils and other articles of religious regalia. It took many years of complaining to stop the revelling; only after a formal rebuke by the Dean of St Paul’s in 1433 was it brought under control, and even then there were periodic outbreaks.

When Henry VIII dissolved the nunnery in 1538 there was no great disarray as with other religious house closures; the nuns were sent packing, the dividing screen between the two naves was removed and the entire church given over to parochial use. The dormitory, refectory and kitchen, making up the nuns domestic quarters were sold off to the Leathersellers’ Company and converted into their hall, with the refectory fitted out for banquets and meetings.

Sometimes referred to as the ‘Westminster Abbey of the City’, St Helen’s holds some fine relics, many having been brought from St Martin Outwich, demolished in 1873. Among them, on the south side of the chancel, is a unique sword rest bearing the arms of Sir John Lawrence who was Lord Mayor of London in 1664; it is the oldest in london, dating from pre-Fire years. The pulpit is Jacobean and the font dates from the mid 17th century. There are numerous monuments to dignitaries of the City. On the north side of the chancel beneath a fine canopy is the memorial to William Pickering (1574), Ambassador to France; During his early years he was restrained in the Tower for firing a crossbow at windows. Sir John Spencer (1609), Lord Mayor, lies along side his wife on the south wall with their daughter kneeling at their feet. On the south side of the chancel lies Sir John Crosby with his Lady wife. The bodies of John Oteswich, founder of St Martin Outwich, and his wife were transferred here in 1873 when his church was pulled down. A memorial to Sir Thomas Gresham who died in 1579 is in the nuns’ choir.

Great St Helen’s was also the site of Crosby Hall ‘Then have you one great house called Crosby place, because the same was built by Sir John Crosby, grocer and woolman, in place of certain tenements, with their appurtenances, letten to him by Alice Ashfed, prioress of St Helen’s, and the convent for ninety, from the year 1466 unto the year 1565…’.

The land leased by Crosby lay to the south of St Helen’s church and the entrance to his ‘large and beautiful house’ – ‘built of stone and timber’, was approximately opposite to Threadneedle Street. It stood sheltered from the main street by a row of mean houses and was accessed by a passage leading through to the courtyard, Crosby Square. Adjoining the mansion there was a private chapel, guest lodgings, a banqueting hall, debating chamber, a bakery, a brewery, stables, and extensive gardens. Crosby Hall was not only a fitting abode for a man of Sir John’s standing but a place highly desired by lords, and even royalty. Before ascending the throne as Richard III,the Duke of Gloucester made it his base and it was while in residence that he received word that he was to be king.

When the Crosby family gave up the house in 1503 it became the temporary lodging of ambassadors until 1516 when Sir Thomas More moved in, staying for seven years during which time he wrote his Life of Richard III and Utopia. Successive owners of Crosby hall were: Thomas More’s son-in-law, William Roper; William Rustill, nephew of More; Thomas d’Arcy, and William Bond, Alderman of the City, who carried out modifications to the place, ‘increasing the house in height, with building of a turret on the top thereof’.

In 1666 the Great Fire was prevented from spreading to the north of Leadenhall and the east of Throgmorton Street because of open spaces – gardens – across which the Fire could not jump, and so St Helen’s and Crosby Hall were saved. However, six years after the great blaze a fire started in a nearby house destroyed most of the buildings and only the debating chamber and the banqueting hall were preserved. These remaining buildings were taken up by the Presbyterian church and for seventy years were used as their meeting house, before being demoted to a packing warehouse. In 1831 the Hall was renovated and converted into lecture rooms and a concert hall before once again having its status lowered to a restaurant for City workers.

After all this unsettling change Crosby Hall went into retirement in 1910. It was pulled down stone by stone and re-erected in Danvers Street, west of Chelsea parish church; it is now used as the dining hall of the British Federation of University Women, founded in 1907.

Leathersellers Hall was demolished in 1799 and rebuilt in St Helen’s Place in 1878. Along with the demolition of the Hall went five almshouses reserved for retired and infirm followers of the trade of leathersellers.

The passage of Great St Helen’s continues along the south side of the church and leads into St Mary Axe.
Great Saint Thomas Apostle EC4
UG: Mansion House
Bus: 11 15 17 23 26 76 172 To Mansion House station

From Mansion House Stn (Cannon St south side) turn down Garlick Hill and in about 30 yds turn left.

Standing on this site, until the fire saw it off in 1666, was the medieval church of St Thomas the Apostle. Its originally dedication in about 1170 was purely to St Thomas, and being the only church in the City so dedicated, no distinguishing identification was required. Only a few years later when the church of St Thomas a Becket was dedicated in Cheapside (to commemorate his canonization in 1173) did it become necessary to differentiate between the two. St Thomas’s was then rededicated St Thomas the Apostle. About 1325 work began on the construction of a new chapel on the south side of the church but excavation disturbed the original structure which resulted in an almost complete rebuilding. Shortly before the Great Fire, major repairs were carried out on the church but by the evening of the 3rd September 1666 the Fire had taken its toll and it was nothing more than a pile of ashes.

After clearing up the parish was amalgamated with St Mary Aldermary and the site of the church was eventually covered up in the construction of Queen Street. Part of the churchyard could still be seen until 1849 when Queen Street was widened.
Groom Place SW1
UG: Hyde Park Corner
Bus: 2 8 16 36 38 52 73 82 To Grosvenor Place/Chapel Street

From Hyde Park Corner walk south along the west side of Grosvenor Place. Cross Grosvenor Crescent then Halkin Street. At the next turn right into Chapel Street. In about 165 yds turn left into the tiny passage. At the end is Groom Place.

Here we have an oddity, a rarity not only long departed from the streets of this great metropolis but a feature quickly becoming extinct in our villages and towns. Once a common sight on almost every street corner, they have been driven into the ground, never to be resurrected, by the sell-everything trading houses springing up like daisies in a meadow – it is, of course, a shop. So, what is the big deal? The West End is a Mecca of shops; Oxford Street and Regent Street contain precious little else, and some of the alleys and courts of central London could just as fairly be termed markets. But Groom Place is no ordinary court; in this area once teaming with the aristocracy it lies tucked away as a segregated community. It is a moderately wide court surfaced in glistening cobble stones set in an environment in keeping with the character usually encountered in places designated as mews. Napoleon once implied that the population of England had no occupation other than keeping shops, but he was talking on the subject in the 18th century and times have changed. However, Groom Place has not changed that much and still retains its distinctive corner shop – a small general store which sole existence relies on the patronage of local residents – and perhaps a few workers as well.

This is a pretty court – not in the way of cottage gardens and hanging baskets – but in the characteristic style of its ‘village’ street. On a deviating route it winds between Chapel Street and Chester Street with a cul-de-sac yard leading off. On the corner of Chester Street is the ‘village’ pub, the Horse and Groom, a small two bar house which like Groom Place has changed little with the passage of time.
Guildhall Yard EC2
UG: Bank
Bus: 4 56 172 To Aldersgate Street/Gresham Street

Leave Bank Station via Princes Street, by the side of the Bank and at the next junction turn left into Gresham Street. Guildhall Yard is approx 150 yds on the north side of Gresham Street, opposite King Street.

Peering around the east end of the church of St Lawrence Jewry brings into view one of London’s most distinguished buildings; this is Guildhall Yard and directly ahead is the Guildhall itself. For near on a thousand years the governing body of the City, the City Corporation, have administered from buildings on this site.

The present Hall is of the early 14th century but the sparking white south frontage, added in 1789, is the work of George Dance the younger. High above the central doorway, between two soaring pilaster, is the Arms of the City; a shield bearing the cross of St George, in the left upper quarter is the sword of St Paul, patron saint of this great City of London. On either side the supporting dragons rest on the scrolled motto: ‘Domine dirige nos’ which means O Lord guide us.

Through the gothic doorway is the partly medieval Great Hall, restored in 1670 after being seriously damaged in 1666. As the Great Fire swept its course through the alleys and courts to the east it quickly took its toll on the tightly pack wooden houses of Guildhall Yard. Two taverns on the west side of the Yard, the Three Tuns and the White Lyon, closed their doors on the night of Monday, 3rd September and never opened again. Highly charged with fuel, it then attacked the Great Hall, but this was of solid stone and only the tremendous heat from without caused the ignition of the timbers within. Gog and Magog, the elaborately painted famous giants, fell casualty and were reduced to ashes. Saved from the flames were the treasured historic records of the City; they were stored in the heavily armoured stone crypt beneath the Hall.

Further restoration work was completed in 1866 by Sir Horace Jones who at the same time added a long awaited new timber roof. For almost two centuries the outstanding architecture of the Hall had remained spoilt by a hideous flat roof; the design by Sir Horace was closely in keeping with that of the original and was crowned with a lantern and slender spire. Unfortunately, it lasted for less than 80 years; destroyed in a 1940 air raid and repaired in 1954 by Sir Giles Scott, it now features a panelled ceiling and stone arches. After their fete in 1666 the two giants were remodelled and there stood firm until the tragic day in 1940 when they were so badly disfigured by fire. New figures were created by David Evans in 1953 and once again they stand ever watchful from their pedestals.

Today the Great Hall is used for Council meetings, conferences of importance to the City, it yearly hosts the gathering for the election of the Lord Mayor, it is the venue for many Corporation banquets, and in November of each year the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, attended by the Sheriffs of the City, members of the Cabinet, and the Prime Minister is held within these great walls. But it has not always been the scene of such splendid ceremonial; the Great Hall has also witnessed a fair share of the most tragic moments in history. Here in 1554 was held the pointless trial of Lady Jane Grey, her fete already decided; and for assisting in her cause Thomas Cranmer was here found guilty and sentenced to his doom at Tyburn. In 1546 the Protestant martyr Anne Askew was told of her end; frail from previous torture, she was too weak to stand and so had to be chained to the stake while her spectators, the Duke of Norfolk and the Lord Mayor watched the flames consume her body. Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, accused of stealing the coat-of-arms of Edward the Confessor for his own use, unsuccessfully attempted to defend his case and was sentenced to death on Tower Hill. There were many more and whilst the Hall of today is a cheerful place, it holds numerous sorrowful memories.

The modern Guildhall Library, to the west of the Great Hall, houses a collection of almost 150,000 books, pamphlets and manuscripts dealing with every aspect of London, its history, and its inhabitants. If you need to delve deep into the antiquity of this fascinating City then look no further. The Library is open Monday to Friday, 09.30 – 17.00.

At the entrance to Guildhall Yard is the church of St Lawrence Jewry, standing on the site of an earlier church probably built in the 12th century. In 1294 the patronage of the church was transferred to Balliol College, Oxford and the Master of the College still retains a stall in the front pew. The old church was burnt down in the Great Fire and rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren between 1671 and 1676 largely at the expense of Sir John Langham, Sheriff in 1642. Incorporated into the parish of the new church was the parish of St Mary Magdalene, Milk Street, also burnt down but never replaced. Extensive war damage in 1940 caused the church to be closed until restoration was completed in 1957 by Cecil Brown.

With the exception of the eastern facade, the exterior is plain and architecturally uninspiring with a tower of similar character supporting a square pedestal and topped with a slender octagonal spire with weather-vane. The interior, however, is typically Wren and has a single aisle on the north side separated from the nave by Corinthian columns and a fine wooden screen. The panelled ceiling with flowers representing the gridiron of St Lawrence’s martyrdom is spectacular and the suspended ornate multi-armed chandeliers are all that we would expect. The oak reredos, containing a painting by the restorer, although new is of very fitting proportions. Remains of the old roof from the Guildhall have been worked to form the covering for the 17th century font, a relic from Holy Trinity, Minories.

Since the Guildhall was deprived of its chapel in the 14th century St Lawrence Jewry has served as the official church of the City Corporation. The Lord Mayor has the privilege of a private pew, with sword rest, on the front row. A special service, attended by the retiring Lord Mayor, is held here every year prior to the election of his successor.

Hanging Sword Alley (largely demolished)
UG: Blackfriars
Bus: 4 11 15 23 26 76 To Fleet Street/Whitefriar’s Street

Off the south side of Fleet Street, about 200 yds west of ludgate Circus, turn into Whitefriars Street. The opening to Hanging Sword Alley was a few yards down, on the left.

All endeavours to trace the whereabouts of this curiously named backwater will be to no avail; it was largely built over some years ago and virtually all that remains is a vague memory. The only lingering trace is a section now taken over by the gents toilet of the Harrow public house further down Whitefriars Street.

Even before the days of change, Hanging Sword Alley was not the easiest of places to locate; the blinking of a well pealed eye could have caused one to slip past, for its opening was never more than a crack in the wall. John Stow came upon it just after he had been meandering around Salisbury Court and merely says, ‘Then is Water Lane, running down, by the west side of a house called the Hanging Sword, to the Thames.’ He then cleared off and went searching for the Whitefriars church which of course by that time had been pulled down. The house to which Stow refers can certainly be traced back to the 1560’s and the Alley was probably here long before that, when it was known as Ouldwood Alley and formed part of the Bishop of Salisbury’s estate.

Hanging Sword Alley has not always enjoyed the most honourable of reputations. Setting aside the fact that Dickens did it no favours when he immortalised it in The Tale of Two Cities and nominated it as the home of Jerry Cruncher, it for many years featured a house noted for the most bloodthirsty wickedness, known as ‘Blood Bowl House’. In 1743 Captain George Morgan was returning home along Fleet Street in the early hours of the morning when he spotted a seemingly lost dear old lady. Being the gallant gentleman he was, he offered to escort her home. She not only took advantage of his kind offer, but led him round the corner to Blood Bowl House where he was set upon by a gang of thugs, robbed of all his belongings, and thrown out into the Alley almost dead.

As will be seen in other parts of this work, through the privilege of sanctuary granted by James I, the alleys and courts to the south side of Fleet Street were inhabited by rogues of every nature. On the other hand, it was the frequent resort of a more gentle set of characters; on account of the hall of the dissolved Whitefriars monastery having been turned into a playhouse, there were hoards of actors, poets, musicians, and people from all walks of life coming’s and going’s by day and night.

This area was also famed as the quarter of the masters of the art of fencing, which could have had something to do with naming of the Alley. It was here in the Alley that master of the art, Turner was savagely killed by two ruffians at the request of Lord Sanquhar who had accidentally lost his eye at the point of Turner’s sword. His Lordship paid dearly for his deed and the two murderers were later caught and hanged near to Whitefriars Gate.
Herbal Hill EC1
UG: Farringdon
Bus: 63 221 259 to Clerkenwell Road
55 243 505 to Farringdon Road

From Farringdon Station turn onto Farringdon Road and walk north for about 300 yds then turn left into Clerkenwell Road. Cross to the north side of Clerkenwell Road and Herbal Hill is about 75 yds on the right.

‘Take ginger, galingale, cinnamon, nutmeg, grains of paradise, cloves bruised, fennel seed, caraway seeds, origanum, one ounce each. Next, take sage, wild margorum, pennyroyal, mint, red roses, thyme, pellitory, rosemary, wild thyme, camomile, lavender, one handful of each. Beat the spices small, bruise the herbs, put all into a limbeck with wine for twelve hours; then distil.’ If taken four times daily it was claimed to cure dropsy, prolong life to eternity and probably scare evil spirits out of their wits. In our day of sophisticated medical remedies it would take the courage of a hero to contemplate swallowing such a preparation, but until less than 100 years ago it was a typical remedy, at the finger tips of every dedicated housewife.

The secret of a successful mixture was to have a goodly number of ingredients; that is, as many as necessary to convince the patient that it was going to do him good. Thus, a cure for a simple illness, such as the common cold, might have included merely two or three varieties of herb whereas the most popular cure for the plague, known as ‘plague water’, included the combination of fifty nine varieties.

Herbs and spices have been the basis of every medicinal preparation ever since the cure of illness was first thought of. On the kitchen shelf of every household there was a mighty tome of recipes for the treatment of all kinds of ailment; the housewife diagnosed the problem and prescribed the treatment. Only when in immediate danger did anyone think of calling in a physician, or more commonly a herbalist. Treatments varied widely and no two herbalists held alike views on remedies; they were all independent in their thinking and everyone claimed to have ‘invented’ the cure for all ills.

The demand for herbs in a large city like London was such that some gardeners dedicated their entire grounds to the cultivation of herbs; these were the main suppliers to the herbalists, but every gardener choosing to set aside a plot for the growing of herbs would be sure to sell his yield. We know that in the 16th century there was an established garden on the site of Herbal Hill wherein a variety of herb plants were grown; whether this was an expanse entirely given over to the purpose, or a section of a multi purpose garden is not known. Also unknown is the owner or tender of the garden. There are various possibilities but three distinctly come out as clear contenders. Firstly, there was St Mary’s Nunnery which occupied the site to the east of Farringdon Road; the nuns owned numerous acres of land but their boundary is unlikely to have extended further west than the line of the present main road. Then there was the garden of the Bishops of Ely, notable throughout London for its quality orchards and fine strawberry patch of which Shakespeare found necessity to mention in Richard III: ‘My Lord of Ely, when I was last in Holborn I saw good strawberries in your garden there.’ The Bishop’s garden was a sizeable estate but presumably the northern limit was on a line with that of the garden of Sir Christopher Hatton who gained his plot from the Ely estate with the help of Elizabeth I. This means that the Herbal Hill site would have been just outside the Bishop’s garden.

Coming in very strongly is John Gerard, barber surgeon and native of Cheshire, who moved to London in 1577 and took up the position of head gardener to William Cecil, Lord Burghley. Gerard bought a house in Holborn, about mid way between the two gardens he was commissioned to tend; one at Lord Burghley’s mansion in the Strand and the other at Theobalds, to the north of the Ely estate. On these plots he continued the work he had been following for many years, that of refining the art of rearing and nurturing an unrivalled array of herbs, fruits and flowers. The high degree of his dedication inspired the writing of Herball, published in 1597, the first comprehensive catalogue of herbs, ever compiled. In 1602 Gerard’s skill was recognised by Anne of Denmark and as a reward for his commitment to the subject he was granted the lease of a two acre plot of land on the site of the present King’s College. All evidence does seem to suggest that it was the activities of John Gerard that led to the naming of Herbal Hill.

There are no herbs or flowers here now, not even a solitary ghost of Gerard’s skilful creation desperately trying to poke its head between the cracked paving. Today, Herbal Hill gives the impression of not knowing where it is; it seems lost in its surroundings of not quite inner city, yet not quite anything else.
Honey Lane EC2
UG: Mansion house
Bus: 8 25 242 To St Mary le Bow

Leave Mansion House station via the Bow Lane exit. Walk north along Bow Ln past the church of St Mary Aldermary and cross Watling St. Continue to the end of Bow Lane and Honey Ln is directly opposite on the north side of Cheapside.

Many of the streets, alleys and courts in London still bear the names of commodities once made or sold there. You only need to walk the length of Cheapside to see a fair selection: Wood Street, Bread Street, Milk Street, Ironmonger Lane, and Honey Lane. This was the passageway leading to a market established in the 12th century where, along with other provision traders, honey producers congregated to sell their wares. It was a substantial and spacious market stretching from Milk Street in the west, where there was a supply of running water, to Ironmonger Lane on the east side. There were no fewer than 135 covered stalls for butchers alone, and presumably a similar number divided between the other traders. In the centre was a large square building raised from the ground on pillars and housing permanent facilities for those who could afford the higher rents. The market, however, was not free of its problems; there were complaints of butchers slaughtering sheep and pigs, and of farmers leaving the place in a filthy state. Fires were often lit there, causing damage to the stalls and destroying produce.

Honey Lane Market survived until 1835 when it was replaced by the City of London School. Early in the 20th century the school moved to Victoria Embankment and the site was built over with offices. The Lane has changed little during the intervening years, – covered at both ends and dominated by a seven storey stone faced building.

Also in Honey Lane, on the corner of Cheapside, was the 13th century church of Allhallows. It was burnt down on the 4th September 1666 and never rebuilt; the parish was afterwards amalgamated with St Mary le Bow.

John Stow seems to disregard any association with sweet tasting substances and suggests that the Lane is so called on account ‘of often washing and sweeping, to keep it clean.’ Truly, with the constant procession of farmers and sheep, it must have been a street cleaners nightmare, but it is also true that honey was sold there.
Hooper’s Court SW3
UG: Knightsbridge
Bus: 9 14 19 22 30 52 73 74 137

Leave Knightsbridge Station via the Knightsbridge exit and turn left into Brompton Road. Hooper’s Court is about 70 yds on the left.

The absolute straight forward directions to Hooper’s Court are simply to follow the crowds making for Harrods, for this must be one of the most densely trampled routes in the whole of London. Meandering around the elegant shops and thoroughfares in this corner of Knightsbridge few would conceive that less than a century ago this neck of the woods was a miserable conglomeration of slums. Today it is a close rival to the highly respectable Bond Street.

It all started in 1765 when John Hooper, a horticulturist with the greenest fingers you ever saw, took a shine to a six acre plot of luscious fertile ground near to where the River Westbourne flowed beneath Knightsbridge. Everyone expected him to cultivate the land and reap the profits to swell his already healthy income, but old John was no idiot; he thought about his retirement, and built houses. When he no longer had the strength or the inclination to continue tending his gardens the rents from the houses provided a steady pension. After Hooper’s death his widow, Sarah, continued to benefit from the wise investment.

Of course, nothing now remains of John Hooper’s property, it has long gone. Further houses replaced them, but the westward spread of the West End meant that the area was not going to remain a secluded residential haven for too long. With the redevelopment of the adjoining estate, Brompton Road and its tributaries soon became littered with sparkling high class shops.
Hop Gardens
UG: Leicester Square
Bus: 24 29 176 To the Lumiere Cinema

From Leicester Square Station walk east along Cranbourne Street towards St Martin’s Lane. At the junction cross the road and turn right into St Martin’s Lane. Continue for about 100 yds passing Garrick Yard, New Row and Goodwin’s Court.

In absolute contrast to its northern neighbours, Goodwin’s court, Hop Gardens is a dreary passage with a Tarmaced paving and uninteresting brick walls. Down the centre of the walkway are three plain, blue painted electric standard lamps. There is but one property entrance in the Court, that of the Quakers Meeting House.

Hop Gardens seems to be the strangest of names for what we see here today; in no way does it give the vaguest of illustrations relating to its origin. There is no absolute evidence relating to the source of the name but one very likely probability is that it formed part of the convent garden of the Abbey of Westminster. The allotments, from which Covent Garden gets its name, covered the area bounded north to south by Long Acre and the Strand, and east to west by Drury Lane and St Martin’s Lane. A wide variety of fruit and vegetables were grown in the gardens and what the monks did not use themselves, they sold. In 1335 the charge of the garden was put into the hands of the cellarer (also the brewer). Transportation was exceedingly difficult and slow in those days and it is quite feasible to conclude that for convenience, self sufficiency, and delight on those occasional days of feasting and merry-making, the monks grew their own hops.
Idol Lane EC3
UG: Monument
Bus: 15 25 To Great Tower Street

From Monument Station walk east along the south side of Eastcheap. Cross Fish Street Hill, Pudding Lane, Botolph Lane, Lovatt Lane, St Mary at Hill. Idol Lane is then about 35 yds on the right.

During the 16th century the name of this narrow cobbled lane was known as St Dunstan’s Hill, being a ‘hairpin’ continuation of the neighbouring lane to the east. ‘they meeting on the south side of this church [St Dunstan’s] and churchyard, do join in one, and running down to the Thames street, the same is called St Dunstan’s hill’ By the mid 17th century the two lanes had parted their intimate relationship and the name appeared as Idle Lane. This may be a reflection on the social inclinations of those who dallied here, implying that the area was frequented by layabouts, content to idle their time away without either trade or other constructive occupation. On the other hand, this theory may be totally out of order and ‘Idle’ could after all be the result of a lack of standardisation in spelling which was common before Johnson published his dictionary in 1755. In the 17th century there was a common belief among protestants that the Mass was a practice of idolatry and this was after all the precinct of St Dunstan in the East which shadily supported a number of Roman Catholic organisations and where the Fraternity of Our Lady was founded fifteen years after the Reformation. It is also understood that in the years following, successive parish priests of St Dunstan’s continued to say secret Masses at the Altar of Our Lady.

The church of St Dunstan in the East receives further mention in the entry for St Dunstan’s Alley.
Lambeth Hill EC4
UG: Mansion House
Bus: 15 17 25 To Friday Street

From Mansion House Station (Queen Victoria Street south side) walk west along Queen Victoria Street. Lambeth Hill is about 300 yds on the left.

During modern redevelopment of this area, earlier in the century, the line of Lambeth Hill was changed beyond all recognition and comparison with that of previous years. As well as incorporating a minuscule part of the old Lambeth Hill, the line of the present ‘Hill’ follows the direction of two antique haunts that have now completely lost their identity. These were, Old Fish Street Hill, a narrow passage, which in the early years used to run down to the Thames side wharfs but for centuries now has survived only in its northern half. Also, lying from east to west was Brook’s Yard, with its old stone archway giving access to the partly covered alley. Both of these ghosts of past days now make up the southern section of present Lambeth Hill which, running northwards, links up with the original line of (old) Lambeth Hill for the final yard or two into Queen Victoria Street – all very complicated.

There were once two churches active in the locality of Lambeth Hill, now there is less than one -a tower minus its nave. St Nicholas, Cole Abbey used to be in the northern reaches until it was segregated by Queen Victoria Street in 1871, but now retains its firm ground on the north side of the main street accompanied by all that remains of Old Fish Street Hill. On Upper Thames Street, adjacent to Lambeth Hill, is the tower of St Mary, Somerset, the sole surviving monument to yet another of Wren’s almost forgotten churches. Wren was commissioned to build it in 1695 as a replacement for an earlier building destroyed in the Great Fire. Despite a viorous campaign by Ewan Christian, joint builder of the National Gallery, to retain the church, it was pulled down in 1868 but the tower was spared. It is plain in design, until the eyes are raised to meet with a surprise topping of pinnacles, obelisks and vases.

In 1964 a group of archaeologists were allowed a matter of days to excavate a site adjoining St Mary, Somerset, which was being prepared for the construction of a new car park. In the few hours available they were successful in uncovering the remains of a Roman public bath along with a section of a Roman retaining wall. However, the contractors, in their eagerness to push on with the work, were never very far away and insisted that the dig be curtailed.
Laurence Pountney Hill EC4
UG: Cannon Street
Bus: 15 17 25 521 To Cannon Street station

From Cannon Street ML Station walk east crossing Bush Lane. In about 25 yds turn right.

Laurence Pountney Hill is just one in a cluster of little lanes to the east of Cannon Street Station. They are all now dominated by the surrounding high-rise offices but were once packed with the houses of merchants working at trades represented by the nearby company halls of the Skinners, Joiners, and Tallow Chandlers.

The lane once went under two separate names with the northern part called Green Lettuce Lane but when Cannon Street was widened in 1854 the whole was brought under the one title of Laurence Pountney Hill. Sir John Poultney, after whom the lane is named, was a wealthy draper who was elected Lord Mayor of London on four occasions in the 1330’s. In 1336 he bought a mansion named ‘Cold Harbrough’ at the southern end of the Hill and renamed it Poultney’s Inn which he leased to Humfrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex, in 1348. Like many of his counterparts Sir John was not a miserly person – he had compassion for prisoners and in 1337 he donated money at the rate of four marks per year for the relief of those detained in Newgate. He supported the work of St Giles Hospital and each year gave them ten shillings (50p) towards the upkeep. His religious conviction led him to build the church of Allhallows-the-Less, which until 1666 stood on the south side of Thames Street. A church for the Carmelite friars in Coventry was built entirely at his expense, and to the church of St Lawrence, which stood in the adjacent lane to the east of here, he added a chapel and a college. In keeping with the common practice in those days of appending the name of the benefactor to the dedication, the church became known as St Lawrence Pountney. Sir John Poultney died in 1349, supposedly of the plague, but despite this his diseased body was laid to rest in old St Paul’s Cathedral.

The church of St Lawrence Pountney, built about 1310, stood on the west side of narrow cobble stoned Laurence Pountney Lane. At the Reformation the church and college were seized by the Crown and remained in its keeping until Elizabeth I granted it to Edward Dorening, owner of the manor of East Geenwich. The church was destroyed in the Fire of 1666 and for years after the site remained a ruinous shambles. It was never rebuilt and the parish was incorporated into St Mary Abchurch. All that is now left in remembrance is a plaque and a small fragment of the graveyard.

Next, to the east of Laurence Pountney Lane, is Martin Lane. It was named after the church of St Martin Orgar, built about 1300 and burnt down in the Great Fire. Its parish was incorporated into St Clement’s, Eastcheap and the church was never rebuilt although the churchyard remains, protected by iron railings.

St Martin’s occupied the east side of the Lane and the congregation would have been familiar with the Old Wine Shades on the west side. It stands here today, unchanged in appearance, as it did in 1662 when it was built. The Fire of 1666 swept up this Lane on the 2nd of September and the flames must have looked in at the door but by some miraculous happening the tavern was left untouched. So close is this to Pudding Lane that the landlord might easily have bought his daily supply of pies from Thomas Farriner’s bakehouse, where the Fire started. The flooring of the Old Wine Shades is of bare wooden boards and the lighting is dim, producing an atmosphere reminiscent of Dickensian times. City office workers make up the bulk of the clientele, filling the old place to capacity at lunch times and early evening. In keeping with 99 per cent of the City drinking houses, the Old Shades is closed at weekends.

Back in Lawrence Pountney Hill the narrow turning into Suffolk Lane leads off to the west where Poultney’s Inn once stood. When Sir John Poultney leased the house to the Earl of Hereford and Essex he asked in return for one rose at mid summer. This small payment no doubt accounted for the subsequent name change to the Manor of the Rose. It seems to have remained in the same ownership until 1397 when the Manor fell into the hands of John Holland, Duke of Huntingdon and subsequently William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk. At the pleasure of Henry VII, Suffolk was executed in 1450 after spending the last six years of his life in the Tower, and the house passed to his second son, John, Earl of Lincoln. In the following years the Manor passed through the ownership of the duke’s of Buckingham, Devon, and Sussex until, in 1560, it was sold for £500 to the Merchant Taylors for use as their school. On the 2nd of September 1666 the Great Fire mercilessly swept round these little lanes and within hours of the blaze starting, the building was gutted and only one wall remained standing.

Gophir Lane, to the west, was the home of John Gofaire, a candle maker, in the mid 14th century. Then into Bush Lane, named from the ‘Bush’ tavern here in the mid 15th century and at some time called Great Bush Lane. The sign of the bush is perhaps the oldest of inn signs and was one of the most frequently encountered in the 15th and 16th centuries. It stemmed from the Roman god, Bacchus, installed as the god of wine and the sign was traditionally a bunch of ivy and vine leaves tied to a pole outside a wine sellers shop. The Bush, or Le Bussh as the sign read, has long since gone; it was followed in more recent years by the Bell, at number 29. Described as ‘a cosy little pub’, the Bell is one of the smallest in the City and as one would expect, it is swollen to extremes at lunch times and early evening.

Between Bush Lane and Dowgate Hill the way is completely blocked by Cannon Street Station, opened in 1866. Its 152,000 square feet cover a site once occupied by an assortment of timber houses and company halls. In those days a narrow lane branched from the east side of Dowgate Hill to cross the site of the station and join Cannon Street (then Candlewick Street). This was Turnwheele Lane, totally obliterated in the construction of the new rail terminus. However, one ancient alley survived the turmoil and although it is now private property its course still follows the same line, unhindered by the station, as it did over 500 years ago. But that is the story of Scott’s Yard.

1Hanging Sword Alley (largely demolished)
UG: Blackfriars
Bus: 4 11 15 23 26 76 To Fleet Street/Whitefriar’s Street

Off the south side of Fleet Street, about 200 yds west of ludgate Circus, turn into Whitefriars Street. The opening to Hanging Sword Alley was a few yards down, on the left.

All endeavours to trace the whereabouts of this curiously named backwater will be to no avail; it was largely built over some years ago and virtually all that remains is a vague memory. The only lingering trace is a section now taken over by the gents toilet of the Harrow public house further down Whitefriars Street.

Even before the days of change, Hanging Sword Alley was not the easiest of places to locate; the blinking of a well pealed eye could have caused one to slip past, for its opening was never more than a crack in the wall. John Stow came upon it just after he had been meandering around Salisbury Court and merely says, ‘Then is Water Lane, running down, by the west side of a house called the Hanging Sword, to the Thames.’ He then cleared off and went searching for the Whitefriars church which of course by that time had been pulled down. The house to which Stow refers can certainly be traced back to the 1560’s and the Alley was probably here long before that, when it was known as Ouldwood Alley and formed part of the Bishop of Salisbury’s estate.

Hanging Sword Alley has not always enjoyed the most honourable of reputations. Setting aside the fact that Dickens did it no favours when he immortalised it in The Tale of Two Cities and nominated it as the home of Jerry Cruncher, it for many years featured a house noted for the most bloodthirsty wickedness, known as ‘Blood Bowl House’. In 1743 Captain George Morgan was returning home along Fleet Street in the early hours of the morning when he spotted a seemingly lost dear old lady. Being the gallant gentleman he was, he offered to escort her home. She not only took advantage of his kind offer, but led him round the corner to Blood Bowl House where he was set upon by a gang of thugs, robbed of all his belongings, and thrown out into the Alley almost dead.

As will be seen in other parts of this work, through the privilege of sanctuary granted by James I, the alleys and courts to the south side of Fleet Street were inhabited by rogues of every nature. On the other hand, it was the frequent resort of a more gentle set of characters; on account of the hall of the dissolved Whitefriars monastery having been turned into a playhouse, there were hoards of actors, poets, musicians, and people from all walks of life coming’s and going’s by day and night.

This area was also famed as the quarter of the masters of the art of fencing, which could have had something to do with naming of the Alley. It was here in the Alley that master of the art, Turner was savagely killed by two ruffians at the request of Lord Sanquhar who had accidentally lost his eye at the point of Turner’s sword. His Lordship paid dearly for his deed and the two murderers were later caught and hanged near to Whitefriars Gate.
Herbal Hill EC1
UG: Farringdon
Bus: 63 221 259 to Clerkenwell Road
55 243 505 to Farringdon Road

From Farringdon Station turn onto Farringdon Road and walk north for about 300 yds then turn left into Clerkenwell Road. Cross to the north side of Clerkenwell Road and Herbal Hill is about 75 yds on the right.

‘Take ginger, galingale, cinnamon, nutmeg, grains of paradise, cloves bruised, fennel seed, caraway seeds, origanum, one ounce each. Next, take sage, wild margorum, pennyroyal, mint, red roses, thyme, pellitory, rosemary, wild thyme, camomile, lavender, one handful of each. Beat the spices small, bruise the herbs, put all into a limbeck with wine for twelve hours; then distil.’ If taken four times daily it was claimed to cure dropsy, prolong life to eternity and probably scare evil spirits out of their wits. In our day of sophisticated medical remedies it would take the courage of a hero to contemplate swallowing such a preparation, but until less than 100 years ago it was a typical remedy, at the finger tips of every dedicated housewife.

The secret of a successful mixture was to have a goodly number of ingredients; that is, as many as necessary to convince the patient that it was going to do him good. Thus, a cure for a simple illness, such as the common cold, might have included merely two or three varieties of herb whereas the most popular cure for the plague, known as ‘plague water’, included the combination of fifty nine varieties.

Herbs and spices have been the basis of every medicinal preparation ever since the cure of illness was first thought of. On the kitchen shelf of every household there was a mighty tome of recipes for the treatment of all kinds of ailment; the housewife diagnosed the problem and prescribed the treatment. Only when in immediate danger did anyone think of calling in a physician, or more commonly a herbalist. Treatments varied widely and no two herbalists held alike views on remedies; they were all independent in their thinking and everyone claimed to have ‘invented’ the cure for all ills.

The demand for herbs in a large city like London was such that some gardeners dedicated their entire grounds to the cultivation of herbs; these were the main suppliers to the herbalists, but every gardener choosing to set aside a plot for the growing of herbs would be sure to sell his yield. We know that in the 16th century there was an established garden on the site of Herbal Hill wherein a variety of herb plants were grown; whether this was an expanse entirely given over to the purpose, or a section of a multi purpose garden is not known. Also unknown is the owner or tender of the garden. There are various possibilities but three distinctly come out as clear contenders. Firstly, there was St Mary’s Nunnery which occupied the site to the east of Farringdon Road; the nuns owned numerous acres of land but their boundary is unlikely to have extended further west than the line of the present main road. Then there was the garden of the Bishops of Ely, notable throughout London for its quality orchards and fine strawberry patch of which Shakespeare found necessity to mention in Richard III: ‘My Lord of Ely, when I was last in Holborn I saw good strawberries in your garden there.’ The Bishop’s garden was a sizeable estate but presumably the northern limit was on a line with that of the garden of Sir Christopher Hatton who gained his plot from the Ely estate with the help of Elizabeth I. This means that the Herbal Hill site would have been just outside the Bishop’s garden.

Coming in very strongly is John Gerard, barber surgeon and native of Cheshire, who moved to London in 1577 and took up the position of head gardener to William Cecil, Lord Burghley. Gerard bought a house in Holborn, about mid way between the two gardens he was commissioned to tend; one at Lord Burghley’s mansion in the Strand and the other at Theobalds, to the north of the Ely estate. On these plots he continued the work he had been following for many years, that of refining the art of rearing and nurturing an unrivalled array of herbs, fruits and flowers. The high degree of his dedication inspired the writing of Herball, published in 1597, the first comprehensive catalogue of herbs, ever compiled. In 1602 Gerard’s skill was recognised by Anne of Denmark and as a reward for his commitment to the subject he was granted the lease of a two acre plot of land on the site of the present King’s College. All evidence does seem to suggest that it was the activities of John Gerard that led to the naming of Herbal Hill.

There are no herbs or flowers here now, not even a solitary ghost of Gerard’s skilful creation desperately trying to poke its head between the cracked paving. Today, Herbal Hill gives the impression of not knowing where it is; it seems lost in its surroundings of not quite inner city, yet not quite anything else.
Honey Lane EC2
UG: Mansion house
Bus: 8 25 242 To St Mary le Bow

Leave Mansion House station via the Bow Lane exit. Walk north along Bow Ln past the church of St Mary Aldermary and cross Watling St. Continue to the end of Bow Lane and Honey Ln is directly opposite on the north side of Cheapside.

Many of the streets, alleys and courts in London still bear the names of commodities once made or sold there. You only need to walk the length of Cheapside to see a fair selection: Wood Street, Bread Street, Milk Street, Ironmonger Lane, and Honey Lane. This was the passageway leading to a market established in the 12th century where, along with other provision traders, honey producers congregated to sell their wares. It was a substantial and spacious market stretching from Milk Street in the west, where there was a supply of running water, to Ironmonger Lane on the east side. There were no fewer than 135 covered stalls for butchers alone, and presumably a similar number divided between the other traders. In the centre was a large square building raised from the ground on pillars and housing permanent facilities for those who could afford the higher rents. The market, however, was not free of its problems; there were complaints of butchers slaughtering sheep and pigs, and of farmers leaving the place in a filthy state. Fires were often lit there, causing damage to the stalls and destroying produce.

Honey Lane Market survived until 1835 when it was replaced by the City of London School. Early in the 20th century the school moved to Victoria Embankment and the site was built over with offices. The Lane has changed little during the intervening years, – covered at both ends and dominated by a seven storey stone faced building.

Also in Honey Lane, on the corner of Cheapside, was the 13th century church of Allhallows. It was burnt down on the 4th September 1666 and never rebuilt; the parish was afterwards amalgamated with St Mary le Bow.

John Stow seems to disregard any association with sweet tasting substances and suggests that the Lane is so called on account ‘of often washing and sweeping, to keep it clean.’ Truly, with the constant procession of farmers and sheep, it must have been a street cleaners nightmare, but it is also true that honey was sold there.
Hooper’s Court SW3
UG: Knightsbridge
Bus: 9 14 19 22 30 52 73 74 137

Leave Knightsbridge Station via the Knightsbridge exit and turn left into Brompton Road. Hooper’s Court is about 70 yds on the left.

The absolute straight forward directions to Hooper’s Court are simply to follow the crowds making for Harrods, for this must be one of the most densely trampled routes in the whole of London. Meandering around the elegant shops and thoroughfares in this corner of Knightsbridge few would conceive that less than a century ago this neck of the woods was a miserable conglomeration of slums. Today it is a close rival to the highly respectable Bond Street.

It all started in 1765 when John Hooper, a horticulturist with the greenest fingers you ever saw, took a shine to a six acre plot of luscious fertile ground near to where the River Westbourne flowed beneath Knightsbridge. Everyone expected him to cultivate the land and reap the profits to swell his already healthy income, but old John was no idiot; he thought about his retirement, and built houses. When he no longer had the strength or the inclination to continue tending his gardens the rents from the houses provided a steady pension. After Hooper’s death his widow, Sarah, continued to benefit from the wise investment.

Of course, nothing now remains of John Hooper’s property, it has long gone. Further houses replaced them, but the westward spread of the West End meant that the area was not going to remain a secluded residential haven for too long. With the redevelopment of the adjoining estate, Brompton Road and its tributaries soon became littered with sparkling high class shops.
Hop Gardens
UG: Leicester Square
Bus: 24 29 176 To the Lumiere Cinema

From Leicester Square Station walk east along Cranbourne Street towards St Martin’s Lane. At the junction cross the road and turn right into St Martin’s Lane. Continue for about 100 yds passing Garrick Yard, New Row and Goodwin’s Court.

In absolute contrast to its northern neighbours, Goodwin’s court, Hop Gardens is a dreary passage with a Tarmaced paving and uninteresting brick walls. Down the centre of the walkway are three plain, blue painted electric standard lamps. There is but one property entrance in the Court, that of the Quakers Meeting House.

Hop Gardens seems to be the strangest of names for what we see here today; in no way does it give the vaguest of illustrations relating to its origin. There is no absolute evidence relating to the source of the name but one very likely probability is that it formed part of the convent garden of the Abbey of Westminster. The allotments, from which Covent Garden gets its name, covered the area bounded north to south by Long Acre and the Strand, and east to west by Drury Lane and St Martin’s Lane. A wide variety of fruit and vegetables were grown in the gardens and what the monks did not use themselves, they sold. In 1335 the charge of the garden was put into the hands of the cellarer (also the brewer). Transportation was exceedingly difficult and slow in those days and it is quite feasible to conclude that for convenience, self sufficiency, and delight on those occasional days of feasting and merry-making, the monks grew their own hops.
Idol Lane EC3
UG: Monument
Bus: 15 25 To Great Tower Street

From Monument Station walk east along the south side of Eastcheap. Cross Fish Street Hill, Pudding Lane, Botolph Lane, Lovatt Lane, St Mary at Hill. Idol Lane is then about 35 yds on the right.

During the 16th century the name of this narrow cobbled lane was known as St Dunstan’s Hill, being a ‘hairpin’ continuation of the neighbouring lane to the east. ‘they meeting on the south side of this church [St Dunstan’s] and churchyard, do join in one, and running down to the Thames street, the same is called St Dunstan’s hill’ By the mid 17th century the two lanes had parted their intimate relationship and the name appeared as Idle Lane. This may be a reflection on the social inclinations of those who dallied here, implying that the area was frequented by layabouts, content to idle their time away without either trade or other constructive occupation. On the other hand, this theory may be totally out of order and ‘Idle’ could after all be the result of a lack of standardisation in spelling which was common before Johnson published his dictionary in 1755. In the 17th century there was a common belief among protestants that the Mass was a practice of idolatry and this was after all the precinct of St Dunstan in the East which shadily supported a number of Roman Catholic organisations and where the Fraternity of Our Lady was founded fifteen years after the Reformation. It is also understood that in the years following, successive parish priests of St Dunstan’s continued to say secret Masses at the Altar of Our Lady.

The church of St Dunstan in the East receives further mention in the entry for St Dunstan’s Alley.
Lambeth Hill EC4
UG: Mansion House
Bus: 15 17 25 To Friday Street

From Mansion House Station (Queen Victoria Street south side) walk west along Queen Victoria Street. Lambeth Hill is about 300 yds on the left.

During modern redevelopment of this area, earlier in the century, the line of Lambeth Hill was changed beyond all recognition and comparison with that of previous years. As well as incorporating a minuscule part of the old Lambeth Hill, the line of the present ‘Hill’ follows the direction of two antique haunts that have now completely lost their identity. These were, Old Fish Street Hill, a narrow passage, which in the early years used to run down to the Thames side wharfs but for centuries now has survived only in its northern half. Also, lying from east to west was Brook’s Yard, with its old stone archway giving access to the partly covered alley. Both of these ghosts of past days now make up the southern section of present Lambeth Hill which, running northwards, links up with the original line of (old) Lambeth Hill for the final yard or two into Queen Victoria Street – all very complicated.

There were once two churches active in the locality of Lambeth Hill, now there is less than one -a tower minus its nave. St Nicholas, Cole Abbey used to be in the northern reaches until it was segregated by Queen Victoria Street in 1871, but now retains its firm ground on the north side of the main street accompanied by all that remains of Old Fish Street Hill. On Upper Thames Street, adjacent to Lambeth Hill, is the tower of St Mary, Somerset, the sole surviving monument to yet another of Wren’s almost forgotten churches. Wren was commissioned to build it in 1695 as a replacement for an earlier building destroyed in the Great Fire. Despite a viorous campaign by Ewan Christian, joint builder of the National Gallery, to retain the church, it was pulled down in 1868 but the tower was spared. It is plain in design, until the eyes are raised to meet with a surprise topping of pinnacles, obelisks and vases.

In 1964 a group of archaeologists were allowed a matter of days to excavate a site adjoining St Mary, Somerset, which was being prepared for the construction of a new car park. In the few hours available they were successful in uncovering the remains of a Roman public bath along with a section of a Roman retaining wall. However, the contractors, in their eagerness to push on with the work, were never very far away and insisted that the dig be curtailed.
Laurence Pountney Hill EC4
UG: Cannon Street
Bus: 15 17 25 521 To Cannon Street station

From Cannon Street ML Station walk east crossing Bush Lane. In about 25 yds turn right.

Laurence Pountney Hill is just one in a cluster of little lanes to the east of Cannon Street Station. They are all now dominated by the surrounding high-rise offices but were once packed with the houses of merchants working at trades represented by the nearby company halls of the Skinners, Joiners, and Tallow Chandlers.

The lane once went under two separate names with the northern part called Green Lettuce Lane but when Cannon Street was widened in 1854 the whole was brought under the one title of Laurence Pountney Hill. Sir John Poultney, after whom the lane is named, was a wealthy draper who was elected Lord Mayor of London on four occasions in the 1330’s. In 1336 he bought a mansion named ‘Cold Harbrough’ at the southern end of the Hill and renamed it Poultney’s Inn which he leased to Humfrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex, in 1348. Like many of his counterparts Sir John was not a miserly person – he had compassion for prisoners and in 1337 he donated money at the rate of four marks per year for the relief of those detained in Newgate. He supported the work of St Giles Hospital and each year gave them ten shillings (50p) towards the upkeep. His religious conviction led him to build the church of Allhallows-the-Less, which until 1666 stood on the south side of Thames Street. A church for the Carmelite friars in Coventry was built entirely at his expense, and to the church of St Lawrence, which stood in the adjacent lane to the east of here, he added a chapel and a college. In keeping with the common practice in those days of appending the name of the benefactor to the dedication, the church became known as St Lawrence Pountney. Sir John Poultney died in 1349, supposedly of the plague, but despite this his diseased body was laid to rest in old St Paul’s Cathedral.

The church of St Lawrence Pountney, built about 1310, stood on the west side of narrow cobble stoned Laurence Pountney Lane. At the Reformation the church and college were seized by the Crown and remained in its keeping until Elizabeth I granted it to Edward Dorening, owner of the manor of East Geenwich. The church was destroyed in the Fire of 1666 and for years after the site remained a ruinous shambles. It was never rebuilt and the parish was incorporated into St Mary Abchurch. All that is now left in remembrance is a plaque and a small fragment of the graveyard.

Next, to the east of Laurence Pountney Lane, is Martin Lane. It was named after the church of St Martin Orgar, built about 1300 and burnt down in the Great Fire. Its parish was incorporated into St Clement’s, Eastcheap and the church was never rebuilt although the churchyard remains, protected by iron railings.

St Martin’s occupied the east side of the Lane and the congregation would have been familiar with the Old Wine Shades on the west side. It stands here today, unchanged in appearance, as it did in 1662 when it was built. The Fire of 1666 swept up this Lane on the 2nd of September and the flames must have looked in at the door but by some miraculous happening the tavern was left untouched. So close is this to Pudding Lane that the landlord might easily have bought his daily supply of pies from Thomas Farriner’s bakehouse, where the Fire started. The flooring of the Old Wine Shades is of bare wooden boards and the lighting is dim, producing an atmosphere reminiscent of Dickensian times. City office workers make up the bulk of the clientele, filling the old place to capacity at lunch times and early evening. In keeping with 99 per cent of the City drinking houses, the Old Shades is closed at weekends.

Back in Lawrence Pountney Hill the narrow turning into Suffolk Lane leads off to the west where Poultney’s Inn once stood. When Sir John Poultney leased the house to the Earl of Hereford and Essex he asked in return for one rose at mid summer. This small payment no doubt accounted for the subsequent name change to the Manor of the Rose. It seems to have remained in the same ownership until 1397 when the Manor fell into the hands of John Holland, Duke of Huntingdon and subsequently William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk. At the pleasure of Henry VII, Suffolk was executed in 1450 after spending the last six years of his life in the Tower, and the house passed to his second son, John, Earl of Lincoln. In the following years the Manor passed through the ownership of the duke’s of Buckingham, Devon, and Sussex until, in 1560, it was sold for £500 to the Merchant Taylors for use as their school. On the 2nd of September 1666 the Great Fire mercilessly swept round these little lanes and within hours of the blaze starting, the building was gutted and only one wall remained standing.

Gophir Lane, to the west, was the home of John Gofaire, a candle maker, in the mid 14th century. Then into Bush Lane, named from the ‘Bush’ tavern here in the mid 15th century and at some time called Great Bush Lane. The sign of the bush is perhaps the oldest of inn signs and was one of the most frequently encountered in the 15th and 16th centuries. It stemmed from the Roman god, Bacchus, installed as the god of wine and the sign was traditionally a bunch of ivy and vine leaves tied to a pole outside a wine sellers shop. The Bush, or Le Bussh as the sign read, has long since gone; it was followed in more recent years by the Bell, at number 29. Described as ‘a cosy little pub’, the Bell is one of the smallest in the City and as one would expect, it is swollen to extremes at lunch times and early evening.

Between Bush Lane and Dowgate Hill the way is completely blocked by Cannon Street Station, opened in 1866. Its 152,000 square feet cover a site once occupied by an assortment of timber houses and company halls. In those days a narrow lane branched from the east side of Dowgate Hill to cross the site of the station and join Cannon Street (then Candlewick Street). This was Turnwheele Lane, totally obliterated in the construction of the new rail terminus. However, one ancient alley survived the turmoil and although it is now private property its course still follows the same line, unhindered by the station, as it did over 500 years ago. But that is the story of Scott’s Yard.

Little Trinity Lane EC4
UG: Mansion House
Bus: 15 17 25 521 To Friday Street

From Mansion House Station (Cannon Street south side) walk down Garlick Hill for about 25 yds, turn right into Gt Trinity Lane and in about 60 yds turn left.

Little Trinity Lane still has an air of quaintness as does the whole of this quarter of the City. Dotted with tiny lanes and alleys it is as perfect a reminder as we can find of the character of London street just after the Great Fire. Everything is so tightly compacted together; a lane running down here, one crossing there, and all this a mere stride from the hectic junction of Queen Victoria Street and Cannon Street, with throbbing Mansion House Station swallowing up a diet of thousands of City commuters with incredible ease.

Things were pretty much the same around here before the Fire came and devoured every billet and habitat, taking with it the church of Holy Trinity-the-less. Perhaps the church would not have lasted very long in any case; when John Stow passed by here in 1598 he commented that it was ‘very old, and in danger of falling down… it leaneth upon props and stilts.’ (see Great Trinity Lane). Also, further along, the Hall of the Painter-Stainers Company, a building which had stood on the site since about 1500, was lost to the mighty flames. There Company was incorporated in 1467 when they represented a wide range of associated trades and professions including decorators, sign board painter and portrait artists. The Painters and Stainers settled in Little Trinity Lane after they purchased the house of Sir John Brown, Sergeant Painter to Henry VIII. After the Fire, work was quickly under way to rebuild the Hall and by 1668, only two years later, the Company was back in residence. In 1915 the Hall was again rebuilt and further repairs were carried out in 1961 following damage caused in the Second World War.

Little Trinity Lane continues south, and then turning east it emerges at the junction of Upper Thames street and Garlick Hill. On the south side of the main road are a collection of antique lanes running down to the River, all currently under threat by modern developers.


Little Turnstile WC2

UG: Holborn
Bus: Any to Holborn Station

Off the south side of Holborn, about 85 yds east of Holborn Station.

One of two turnstiles on the north side of the pasture land which later became known as Lincoln’s Inn Fields. (See Great Turnstile)

In Little Turnstile are Dunkin Doughnuts, Bagel Express, a luggage repair specialist, a sandwich and snack bar, a Thai restaurant, and the Ship Tavern.


Lombard Lane EC4

UG: Blackfriars
Bus: Any to Ludgate Circus

Follow the directions for Pleydell Street. Continue to the end of Pleydell Street and Lombard Lane is on the left.

Once a dirty slum, housing thieves and murderers; they congregated here to claim sanctuary, a privilege that continued for many years after the closure of the Whitefriars Monastery which occupied the site. Now, the Lane is transformed into a modern thoroughfare, and a satisfying orange brick building on the east side is one of the most recent additions. Still remaining from bygone days are the cobble stones and narrow pavements.

The name is thought to have come from ‘Lombards money’, a term used for savings set aside to pay off a lone from the Lombards. (See Lombard Court).


Mansion House Place EC4

UG: Bank
Bus: Any to the Bank

Leave Bank Station via the exit signed: Mansion House, Poultry (south side), Walbrook.

Narrow Mansion House Place runs along side the western wall of the Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London. Until 1753, when the Mansion House was completed, the Lord Mayor had no official residence, he was offered rooms in one of the Company halls – usually the one with which he had affiliations. The front of the Mansion House, facing the Bank, has a large portico made up of six large columns supporting a pediment featuring a figure representing London with the left foot on the figure of Envy, urged along by old Father Thames, Commerce, Cupid and Plenty; it is best viewed from the corner of Prince’s Street.

Besides being a residence the Mansion House is used for ceremonial functions and meetings of national importance. The Egyptian Hall, 90 feet long, 60 feet wide and capable of accommodating 400 people, is the venue for banquets and other major civic functions. There is also the old ballroom, drawing room and various reception rooms. Additionally, there is a court of justice where the Lord Mayor presides daily.

The mayoralty of London was established in 1192 when Henry Fitz Ailwyn was elected and remained in office until he died in 1212, a period of 20 years. In 1215 King John granted a charter to elect a new Mayor on an annual basis. Richard (Dick) Whittington was probably the most famous of all the Mayor’s, he was elected on four separate occasions. Sir Crisp Gascoigne, elected to office in 1752, was the first Lord Mayor to take up residence at the Mansion House.

Election takes place on Michaelmas Day from two Aldermen nominated by the Liverymen of the Craft Guilds. On the Friday before the second Saturday in November he is installed. The following day he rides in state through the streets of London accompanied by fellow Aldermen in a colourful procession to the Royal Courts of Justice. Finally he is presented to the Recorder of the Queen’s Bench Division of Judges.

Tours of the Mansion House can be organised for parties by applying in writing to the Principal Assistant, Mansion House EC4.


Milford Lane WC2

UG: Temple
Bus: Any to Aldwych

Turn left out of Temple Station then left into Temple Place which runs round to the rear of Temple Station. Walk straight ahead towards the north-east corner and through the gate.

The twisting path of Milford Lane follows the course of a stream which presumably started its southern flow somewhere in the heights of Hampstead and was probably joined by the overflow from St Clement’s well which was near to the church. Certainly, by the beginning of the 17th century, and probably much earlier, the course had either been diverted or the stream had dried up. By this time the Lane was already lined on both sides with houses and a number of stables reaching down to the Thames. The name has been in existence for many centuries and quite evidently the stream is the source of its origin. During the reign of James I a mill stood close to the eastward bend near the bottom of the Lane.

About halfway down the Lane stood the Rectory of St Clement Danes and here on the 15th March 1633 the Reverend Dr Roger Bates, Rector and Chaplain to James I and Charles I breathed his last breath and was buried in St Clement Danes Church. But Milford Lane was not all prayerful clergymen and halos, it harboured some of the most vicious criminals and unlawful schemesters of the time. In 1641 a mob of thirty-five Irish men were arrested in Milford Lane and imprisoned at Newgate for conspiring to set fire to the City of London.

The Lane still retains a trace of its old world past, although there are now no private houses – the last six survivors with timber framed bay windows were pulled down as long ago as 1852. It is still a single track road with a narrow pavement on one side only and the buildings are a mixture of brick and stone. Until 1870 when Victoria Embankment was opened, the edge of the Thames was only feet away from the southern end of the Lane and here there was a landing stage where coal and provisions brought by water were unloaded. From there the cargo was carried up the steep flight of steps, still in existence, to awaiting carts in Essex Street. On the corner of Little Essex Street is the Cheshire Cheese public house serving excellent Courage ales and at lunchtime (weekdays only) a fine compliment of snacks. At its northern end Milford Lane enters the Strand just to the south of St Clement Danes Church.


New Turnstile and Little Turnstile

UG: Holborn
Bus: Any to Holborn Stn

Off the south side of High Holborn approx 35 yds east of Holborn Station.

New Turnstile, named because it was more recently built than Great turnstile, was one of the gates erected for the passage of pedestrians at the four corners of Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Adjacent, to the east, Little Turnstile was the predecessor to New Turnstile. It presumably fell into disrepair and was replaced.

There are no great thrills to be had from either of these little passages but perhaps Little ‘T’ has the edge. It is heralded by a solitary telephone kiosk where the passage branches from Holborn in the corner of a triangular patch set back from the line of the pavement. There are four handy food establishments each offering their own speciality fare: Dunkin Doughnuts, Bagel Express, a Thai restaurant, and a sandwich and snack bar. Ladbrooks, bookmakers, have an office in New Turnstile and just around the corner in Gate Street is Bernies Grills. A specialist in luggage repairs has his shop here and to complete the picture, the Ship Tavern is at the end of the passage.


Newcastle Close EC4

UG: Chancery Lane/Blackfriars
Bus: Any to Holborn Viaduct

From Holborn Viaduct walk down the steps on to Farringdon Street. About 70 yds on the left.

Originally named Newcastle Street. Like Bear Alley, a few yards south of here, Newcastle Street used to turn in a south easterly direction to link up with Old Seacoal Lane. When the Holborn Viaduct to Blackfriars railway line was constructed in 1884 the length of the street was truncated to the few yards as we see today. It was then renamed Newcastle Close.

Strolling along Farringdon Street of modern London it seems a curious reflection to imagine that coal barges once sailed up the Fleet River as far as Ludgate. In those days coal was transported by sea from Tyneside and landed at the Thames-side wharves just east of London Bridge from where it was loaded into smaller vessels and brought to the Seacoal Lane merchants. Commonly, Londoner’s heated their homes and cooked by charcoal – Seacoal, as the Newcastle fuel was called, did not come into more regular use until the 15th century which led to the ‘pea-souper’ fog and remained the curse of central London until the 1960’s.

To the north side is British Telecom’s Meridian House and on the south side are the offices of Coopers and Lybrand. Lining the Close on either side are tall buildings faced with white glazed tiles.


Old Seacoal Lane
EC4
UG: Blackfriars
Bus: Any to Ludgate Circus

Off the east side of Farringdon Street, a few yards north of Ludgate Circus.

The origin of this name stems from the time when barges transporting coal from the River Thames and along the Fleet River used to unload here. It sounds a curious place, and surely it once was; perhaps a little gloomy but certainly very much alive with gangs of sweaty coal-heaving men. When the River became so silted up with rubbish and barges could no longer complete the journey, Old Seacoal Lane slipped into a dreadful slum. In his less lucrative years, Oliver Goldsmith tolerated a miserable existence in lodgings here before moving on to better things in Wine Office Court.

Old Seacoal Lane is now a flight of steps rather than a lane, raising it into the neat area of Limeburner Lane. These lanes are some of the most recently developed in the City of London; they lie on the site of the railway tracks which until the early 1990’s crossed Ludgate Hill on a bridge but now pass beneath the roadway. ‘Old’ was only added to the name in the 1940,s to distinguish it from a newly constructed road running between Ludgate Hill and Old Bailey, [new] Seacoal Lane. The old cobble stones which once formed the surface of the road have been discarded in favour of modern materials. Beside the steps is an ultra modern building at 10 Fleet Place looking almost as though it were constructed of a giant Meccano set. On the corner of Old Fleet Lane, crouching beneath a block of offices is the White Swan public house.

On the site between Old Seacoal Lane and Fleet Lane stood the Fleet Prison, a substantial stone erection built in the mid 12th century with a surrounding moat. Prior to 1641 it was a house of detention for crimes of any nature but was subsequently used for debtors only. Within thirty years of being built ‘the Fleet’ was so full to capacity with convicted inmates and those awaiting trial that the King was pressed into a decision to commence building an additional prison at Newgate. Prisoner confined to the Fleet were in the unfortunate situation of not only having to tolerate the deplorable condition within, but also had to suffer the stench drifting from without. Ever since the Romans took their leave of this island the Fleet River had been a general repository for anything unwanted. During the 13th century its murky depth was used by local butchers for washing their slaughtered cattle and disposing of any waste product; the infestation was so bad that prisoners were falling ill like nine-pins. On Tuesday 4th September 1666 the Fleet Prison was burnt to the ground and the prisoners were restrained in a building south of the Thames until rebuilding was completed. It was again destroyed by fire in 1780 when rioters set light to it but it was not until 1846 that the Fleet finally closed for all time.


Peter’s Hill EC4

UG: Blackfriars/St Paul’s
Bus: 4 11 15 17 23 26 76 172 To St Paul’s

From Blackfriars ML Station walk east along the north side of Queen Victoria Street for almost ¼ mile. Peter’s Hill runs along the east side of the College of Arms.

Climbing from Queen Victoria Street and along Peter’s Hill leads along side the site of the church of St Peter, Paul’s Wharf, which stood on the south-east corner. It was built about 1180 and burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666, never to be rebuilt. The parish was then incorporated into St Benet, Paul’s Wharf, which still stands, almost opposite, on the south side of Queen Victoria Street. Peter’s Hill was a curious place in those pre-Fire days; a dozen or so tiny houses lined the narrow alley just to the north of the church. Along the side of the church was Boss Court with its corner tavern, and next door a ropemaker’s shop. It isn’t that quaint old haunt any more, and has not been so for a good many years; all that greets us now is a wide hill of concrete steps raising the level to St Paul’s Churchyard and Old Change Court, another contemporary creation developed for modern London.

Dominating the western side of ‘the Hill’ with its frontage facing onto Queen Victoria Street is the imposing building of the College of Arms, sometimes referred to as the Heralds’ College. It stands on the site of Derby House, built by the first Earl of Derby who married the mother of Henry VII, and presented to the Garter King of Arms by Queen Mary in 1555. Along with most of its neighbours the house was largely destroyed on the 3rd September 1666 but the Heralds had received prior warning and transferred their valuable centuries old archives to the Palace of Westminster. Rebuilding gave the planners an opportunity to design a building more suited for its purpose; the Heralds’ didn’t entertain guests and they had no use for the banqueting hall and large catering kitchen so these were omitted from the plans. To make way for the construction of Queen Victoria Street in 1871 the east and west wings were shortened but with this exception the building survives today in very much the same appearance as in the 17th century. Major renovation work took place in 1956 when the ornate crest mounted gates, originally made for Goodrich Court in Hertfordshire, were added to the courtyard.

The Heralds’ and officers of the College of Arms are the official authority in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Commonwealth on all matters concerning Heraldry and pedigree. They were first incorporated by a charter granted by Richard III in 1484 and this was renewed by Mary I in 1555 shortly after she had presented them with Derby House. All officers of the College are directly appointed by the Crown and since 1672 they have acted on the authority of the Duke of Norfolk as Earl Marshall. Under his jurisdiction the College has for centuries been responsible for issuing arms and seals to notable persons. Among their other varied functions is the organisation of State ceremonies such as coronations, and the Heralds can be seen each year in ceremonial dress accompanying the Queen at the State opening of Parliament.

Opposite, on the south side of Queen Victoria Street, is the headquarters of the Salvation Army founded by William Booth in 1865. The ‘Army’ grew from the most modest of beginnings; no grand building, church, or even a shack, but from a man, so dedicated, preaching the Gospel from a wooden box around the streets of Nottingham. He moved to London, taking up work in a pawnbrokers shop, and continued his mission to ‘win souls’ amidst hostility and abuse, in the Mile End Road. In 1865 he opened the Christian Mission and through sheer determination his followers braved the streets of the East End, always ready to lend an ear to the deprived and down-and-outs.

In 1881 the Salvation Army began administering the organisation from their new headquarters here in Queen Victoria Street,continuing until it was destroyed by fire in May 1941. A new building was completed and opened by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in November 1963, just two years before the ‘Army’ celebrated its 100th anniversary.


This page is taken from Ivor Hoole’s defunct GeoCities site listing the alleys and courtyards in Central London, last updated in 2004 and now taken offline.
The Underground Map blog lists this information as is, with no claim of copyright.



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