Finsbury Court, EC2A

Courtyard in/near Clerkenwell, existed between 1500 and the 1990s

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(51.52021 -0.08804, 51.52 -0.088) 
MAP YEAR:1750180018301860190019502021Remove markers
Courtyard · Clerkenwell · EC2A ·
JUNE
2
2021

Finsbury Court was obliterated in a redevelopment programme taking in Finsbury Pavement.

0
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.

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.


Citation information: The alleyways and courtyards of London – The Underground Map
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CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LOCALITY


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The Underground Map   
Added: 8 Mar 2021 15:05 GMT   

A plague on all your houses
Aldgate station is built directly on top of a vast plague pit, where thousands of bodies are apparently buried. No-one knows quite how many.

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Comment
MCNALLY    
Added: 17 May 2021 09:42 GMT   

Blackfriars (1959 - 1965)
I lived in Upper Ground from 1959 to 1964 I was 6 years old my parents Vince and Kitty run the Pub The Angel on the corner of Upper Ground and Bodies Bridge. I remember the ceiling of the cellar was very low and almost stretched the length of Bodies Bridge. The underground trains run directly underneath the pub. If you were down in the cellar when a train was coming it was quite frightening

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Tom   
Added: 21 May 2021 23:07 GMT   

Blackfriars
What is, or was, Bodies Bridge?

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Comment
   
Added: 21 Apr 2021 16:21 GMT   

Liverpool Street
the Bishopsgate station has existed since 1840 as a passenger station, but does not appear in the site’s cartography. Evidently, the 1860 map is in fact much earlier than that date.

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Graham O’Connell   
Added: 10 Apr 2021 10:24 GMT   

Lloyd & Sons, Tin Box Manufacturers (1859 - 1982)
A Lloyd & Sons occupied the wharf (now known as Lloyds Wharf, Mill Street) from the mid 19th Century to the late 20th Century. Best known for making tin boxes they also produced a range of things from petrol canisters to collecting tins. They won a notorious libel case in 1915 when a local councillor criticised the working conditions which, in fairness, weren’t great. There was a major fire here in 1929 but the company survived at least until 1982 and probably a year or two after that.

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The Underground Map   
Added: 20 Sep 2020 13:01 GMT   

Pepys starts diary
On 1 January 1659, Samuel Pepys started his famous daily diary and maintained it for ten years. The diary has become perhaps the most extensive source of information on this critical period of English history. Pepys never considered that his diary would be read by others. The original diary consisted of six volumes written in Shelton shorthand, which he had learned as an undergraduate on scholarship at Magdalene College, Cambridge. This shorthand was introduced in 1626, and was the same system Isaac Newton used when writing.

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Comment
Steven Shepherd   
Added: 4 Feb 2021 14:20 GMT   

Our House
I and my three brothers were born at 178 Pitfield Street. All of my Mothers Family (ADAMS) Lived in the area. There was an area behind the house where the Hoxton Stall holders would keep the barrows. The house was classed as a slum but was a large house with a basement. The basement had 2 rooms that must have been unchanged for many years it contained a ’copper’ used to boil and clean clothes and bedlinen and a large ’range’ a cast iron coal/log fired oven. Coal was delivered through a ’coal hole’ in the street which dropped through to the basement. The front of the house used to be a shop but unused while we lived there. I have many more happy memories of the house too many to put here.

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Comment
   
Added: 27 Jul 2021 14:31 GMT   

correction
Chaucer did not write Pilgrims Progress. His stories were called the Canterbury Tales

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Comment
Jeff Owen   
Added: 20 Mar 2021 16:18 GMT   

Owen’s School
Owen Street is the site of Owen’s Boys’ School. The last school was built in 1881 and was demolished in the early 1990s to make way for the development which stand there today. It was a “Direct Grant” grammar school and was founded in 1613 by Dame Alice Owen. What is now “Owen’s Fields” was the playground between the old school and the new girls’ school (known then as “Dames Alice Owen’s School” or simply “DAOS”). The boys’ school had the top two floors of that building for their science labs. The school moved to Potters Bar in Hertfordshire in 1971 and is now one of the top State comprehensive schools in the country. The old building remained in use as an accountancy college and taxi-drivers’ “knowledge” school until it was demolished. The new building is now part of City and Islington College. Owen’s was a fine school. I should know because I attended there from 1961 to 1968.

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Comment
Marion James   
Added: 12 Mar 2021 17:43 GMT   

26 Edith Street Haggerston
On Monday 11th October 1880 Charlotte Alice Haynes was born at 26 Edith Street Haggerston the home address of her parents her father Francis Haynes a Gilder by trade and her mother Charlotte Alice Haynes and her two older siblings Francis & George who all welcomed the new born baby girl into the world as they lived in part of the small Victorian terraced house which was shared by another family had an outlook view onto the world of the Imperial Gas Works site - a very grey drab reality of the life they were living as an East End working class family - 26 Edith Street no longer stands in 2021 - the small rundown polluted terrace houses of Edith Street are long since gone along with the Gas Companies buildings to be replaced with green open parkland that is popular in 21st century by the trendy residents of today - Charlotte Alice Haynes (1880-1973) is the wife of my Great Grand Uncle Henry Pickett (1878-1930) As I research my family history I slowly begin to understand the life my descendants had to live and the hardships that they went through to survive - London is my home and there are many areas of this great city I find many of my descendants living working and dying in - I am yet to find the golden chalice! But in all truthfulness my family history is so much more than hobby its an understanding of who I am as I gather their stories. Did Charlotte Alice Pickett nee Haynes go on to live a wonderful life - no I do not think so as she became a widow in 1930 worked in a canteen and never remarried living her life in and around Haggerston & Hackney until her death in 1973 with her final resting place at Manor Park Cemetery - I think Charlotte most likely excepted her lot in life like many women from her day, having been born in the Victorian era where the woman had less choice and standing in society, which is a sad state of affairs - So I will endeavour to write about Charlotte and the many other women in my family history to give them the voice of a life they so richly deserve to be recorded !

Edith Street was well situated for the new public transport of two railway stations in 1880 :- Haggerston Railway Station opened in 1867 & Cambridge Heath Railway Station opened in 1872


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Added: 3 Jun 2021 15:50 GMT   

All Bar One
The capitalisation is wrong

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LATEST LONDON-WIDE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT

Comment
Jude Allen   
Added: 29 Jul 2021 07:53 GMT   

Bra top
I jave a jewelled item of clothong worn by a revie girl.
It is red with diamante straps. Inside it jas a label Bermans Revue 16 Orange Street but I cannot find any info online about the revue only that 16 Orange Street used to be a theatre. Does any one know about the revue. I would be intesrested to imagine the wearer of the article and her London life.

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Comment
Kathleen   
Added: 28 Jul 2021 09:12 GMT   

Dunloe Avenue, N17
I was born in 1951,my grandparents lived at 5 Dunloe Avenue.I had photos of the coronation decorations in the area for 1953.The houses were rented out by Rowleys,their ’workers yard’ was at the top of Dunloe Avenue.The house was fairly big 3 bedroom with bath and toilet upstairs,and kitchenette downstairs -a fairly big garden.My Grandmother died 1980 and the house was taken back to be rented again

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Comment
Kathleen   
Added: 28 Jul 2021 08:59 GMT   

Spigurnell Road, N17
I was born and lived in Spigurnell Road no 32 from 1951.My father George lived in Spigurnell Road from 1930’s.When he died in’76 we moved to number 3 until I got married in 1982 and moved to Edmonton.Spigurnell Road was a great place to live.Number 32 was 2 up 2 down toilet out the back council house in those days

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Comment
Lewis   
Added: 27 Jul 2021 20:48 GMT   

Ploy
Allotment

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Comment
   
Added: 27 Jul 2021 14:31 GMT   

correction
Chaucer did not write Pilgrims Progress. His stories were called the Canterbury Tales

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Comment
old lady   
Added: 19 Jul 2021 11:58 GMT   

mis information
Cheltenham road was originally
Hall road not Hill rd
original street name printed on house still standing

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Comment
Patricia Bridges   
Added: 19 Jul 2021 10:57 GMT   

Lancefield Coachworks
My grandfather Tom Murray worked here

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Lived here
Former Philbeach Gardens Resident   
Added: 14 Jul 2021 00:44 GMT   

Philbeach Gardens Resident (Al Stewart)
Al Stewart, who had huts in the 70s with the sings ’Year of the Cat’ and ’On The Borders’, lived in Philbeach Gdns for a while and referenced Earl’s Court in a couple of his songs.
I lived in Philbeach Gardens from a child until my late teens. For a few years, on one evening in the midst of Summer, you could hear Al Stewart songs ringing out across Philbeach Gardens, particularly from his album ’Time Passages". I don’t think Al was living there at the time but perhaps he came back to see some pals. Or perhaps the broadcasters were just his fans,like me.
Either way, it was a wonderful treat to hear!

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The Windmill This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
We Are Bar This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
Wood Street Bar and Restaurant This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.


Clerkenwell

Clerkenwell was once known as London’s Little Italy because of the large number of Italians living in the area from the 1850s until the 1960s.

Clerkenwell took its name from the Clerks’ Well in Farringdon Lane. In the Middle Ages, the London Parish clerks performed annual mystery plays there, based on biblical themes. Part of the well remains visible, incorporated into a 1980s building called Well Court.

In the 17th century South Clerkenwell became a fashionable place of residence. Oliver Cromwell owned a house on Clerkenwell Close, just off the Green. Several aristocrats had houses there, most notably the Duke of Northumberland, as did people such as Erasmus Smith.

Before Clerkenwell became a built-up area, it had a reputation as a resort a short walk out of the city, where Londoners could disport themselves at its spas, of which there were several, based on natural chalybeate springs, tea gardens and theatres. The present day Sadler’s Wells has survived as heir to this tradition.

Clerkenwell was also the location of three prisons: the Clerkenwell Bridewell, Coldbath Fields Prison (later Clerkenwell Gaol) and the New Prison, later the Clerkenwell House of Detention, notorious as the scene of the Clerkenwell Outrage in 1867, an attempted prison break by Fenians who killed many in the tenement houses on Corporation Row in trying to blow a hole in the prison wall.

The Industrial Revolution changed the area greatly. It became a centre for breweries, distilleries and the printing industry. It gained a special reputation for the making of clocks and watches, which activity once employed many people from around the area. Flourishing craft workshops still carry on some of the traditional trades, such as jewellery-making. Clerkenwell is home to Witherby’s, Europe’s oldest printing company.

After the Second World War, Clerkenwell suffered from industrial decline and many of the premises occupied by the engineering, printing publishing and meat and food trades (the last mostly around Smithfield) fell empty. Several acclaimed council housing estates were commissioned by Finsbury Borough Council. Modernist architect and Russian émigré Berthold Lubetkin’s listed Spa Green Estate, constructed 1943–1950, has recently been restored. The Finsbury Estate, constructed in 1968 to the designs of Joseph Emberton includes flats, since altered and re-clad.

A general revival and gentrification process began in the 1980s, and the area is now known for loft-living in some of the former industrial buildings. It also has young professionals, nightclubs and restaurants and is home to many professional offices as an overspill for the nearby City of London and West End.

Amongst other sectors, there is a notable concentration of design professions around Clerkenwell, and supporting industries such as high-end designer furniture showrooms.


LOCAL PHOTOS
St Lukes Hospital for Lunatics, London
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In the neighbourhood...

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"Cheapside and Bow Church" engraved by W. Albutt, 1837 steel engraved print after a picture by T.H. Shepherd, first published in The History of London: Illustrated by Views in London and Westminster.
Credit: W. Albutt
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St Lukes Hospital for Lunatics, London
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The gravestone of English poet William Blake in Bunhill Fields Burial Ground
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Shepherd’s Place archway (c. 1810), and Tenter Street (c. 1820) in 1909
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Shown on many older maps as Dashwood Walk, in the 17th century Alderman’s Walk was a passageway leading to the large house and gardens of Sir Frances Dashwood. The poet John Keats was christened at nearby St Botolph’s church in 1795
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Royal Oak, Waterloo Street in the early 1960s.
Credit: James Wyatt
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"Cheapside and Bow Church" engraved by W. Albutt, 1837 steel engraved print after a picture by T.H. Shepherd, first published in The History of London: Illustrated by Views in London and Westminster.
Credit: W. Albutt
Licence: CC BY 2.0
To View or share the image, go to its dedicated web page

The Bridging Home sculpture by Korean artist Do Ho Suh at the corner of Bishopsgate and Wormwood Street represents migrant history in London. The traditional Korean house is a replica of his childhood home, designed to look as though it has fallen on the bridge.
Credit: https://careergappers.com/
Licence:
To View or share the image, go to its dedicated web page

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