Louis Zettersten was a Swedish businessman working in the City at the very beginning of the 20th century. To de-stress he spent his lunch breaks walking around and exploring the 'Square Mile' – exactly the same as I did, about 60 years later. In order to better understand the history of what he saw he researched the origins of the names of all the 'Streets, Lanes, Alleys and Courts'.
Originally privately published in 1917, this third (public) edition from 1926 contains over 500 entries.
Read the whole book below, or download the free eBook.
Conclusions reached by individual historians are rarely less than controversial. You may or may not agree with some of the Scandinavian influence that seems to pervade this book. There are also occasional lapses into stating the obvious and a smattering of what might be wishful thinking. Nevertheless, it is a very useful and, as an eBook, portable tool for looking at the City's ancient street names.
There's magic in London
It glints in the air:
It flashes its signals
Of joy and despair.
There's magic in London.
Oh! London is grand.
I ne'er could forget her,
On sea or on land.
(From LONDON in "Flints and Flashes" By E. H. Visiak.)
There is no city in the world more fascinating than the City of London, and to understand the history of the City itself, it is necessary to study the origin of the names of her streets. Unlike the street names of Greater London, which have been conferred as the districts grew up around the ancient city, the names of the streets within "the square mile" have, as the Rev. W. J. Loftie expresses it, "grown of themselves," and by solving the riddle of the name of the street, you have the history of the spot before you and with that the atmosphere of by-gone days. Mr. Wilfred Whitten (John O'London) says: "Every square yard of London's soil has its history and hides its many secrets." The aim of this little volume is to reveal these secrets and act as a guide to the old City.
As the book will be new to almost every reader, it may be prudent to add a few explanatory words in regard to the inscription THIRD EDITION appearing on the front page. The first edition was the fruit of some fifteen years' study of the City in the form of visits to its institutions, old streets, alleys and courts, chiefly during lunch intervals, as a relaxation from strenuous business hours. These perambulations were followed up in the evenings by a study of the very extensive literature on the subject. In 1917, a first edition (quite small) was published privately, for the benefit of it few friends who had accompanied me on such rambles, and this book met with a warm welcome among friends of the CITY COTERIE These same friends were prompted later on to ask me to prepare a revised edition and this, the second edition, appeared in 1925. The first edition only consisted of 64 pages and has long been out of print: the second edition, however, contained 92 pages. This second edition forms the basis of the present public edition, which has been slightly augmented.
My authorities are numerous and too many to quote, but I must mention the invaluable help and guidance I have received from articles published by Mr. Arthur Bonner, F.S.A., and from the exhaustive work of Mr. Henry A. Harben, F.S.A., entitled A DICTIONARY OF LONDON. I also wish to express my thanks to Dr. E. Classon for the valuable assistance he has rendered me.
VILLA IDET, STOCKSUND,
From his oozy bed,
LONDINIUM is first mentioned by a Roman author (Tacitus) in A.D. 61. He says it is "a place . . . greatly celebrated for the number of its merchants and the abundance of its supplies." The city of the Romans in England was situated between the two brooks Fleta in the West and Wall brook in the East. The original Wall of the City is undoubtedly Roman work, and may date back to 368 or earlier.* The Romans left Britain in A.D. 410. The last mention of London before that event was in 369 by Marcellinus, when he records the renaming of the ancient city of Londinium by its new name of Augusta. Constantine the Great gave this name to London, when it became the capital of the British province.
* [Prof. Lethaby has suggested that the Wall was begun between the years 320-324. Another authority, Mr. R. A. Smith, of the British Museum, fixes the date of building the walls of London at some time between the years 260-290 A.D.]
I opened my first edition of this little book on the City Street Names with a few remarks on the origin of the name of the City itself, and I followed upon orthodox lines - and fell into the same pit as so many before me. But I was promptly pulled up by Mr. Arthur Bonner, Editor of the Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archæological Society. He most kindly referred me to an article by Mr. Henry Bradley on "English Place Names," published in 1910 in "Essays and Studies, by Members of the English Association," The Clarendon Press, Oxford. And here I drank deeply, not minding the admonition at the beginning of the article, which says, as to studies of place names: "Unfortunately nearly everything that has been written on the subject is worthless."
In regard to LONDON I quote the following: "One of the names which have been furnished with pretended explanations out of the Welsh dictionary is London, anciently Londinion - or, as Tacitus latinized it, Londinium. Most of the modern histories of London tell us that this name means either 'fort or town by the lake' (from the Welsh llyn, lake, and din, fort or town). M. D'Arbois de Jubainville has conjectured that Londinion means 'the place belonging to a man named Londinos, and that this personal name is derived from Londos, a word that survives in Irish as lonn, savage, wild.' This guess seems to be the only one hitherto offered that has the merit of being philologically possible. But as no such name as Londinos has yet been found borne by Briton or Gaul, the theory of personal derivation remains uncertain. All we really know is that the name of the city is derived, by the addition of suffixes, from a word Lond - the meaning of which is still obscure."
The derivation of the word LOND has thus to be traced, and I here offer an entirely new theory which I hope historians will consider.
In A.D. 457, a chronicler styles the city LUNDENBYRG, and in 679, the name is given as LUNDEN. The kings of Kent and Essex refer to the city as "metropolis Lundonia civitas". The latinized form LUNDINIUM frequently occurs, but no where have I seen the form LYNDINIUM. This, therefore, leads me to believe that LONDON, or LONDINIUM, is a corruption of the original name of LUND, or LUNDEN; the name the city by the Thames received from the early Northern invaders. Here they found an appropriate spot where they could make offerings to their gods, and bestowed upon it the name of LUND, or LUNDEN, from the Scandinavian word offer-lund, or sacred grove. That this region was forest land in those days is an established fact.
Now let us see who these early invaders were, and why they brought the Northern language with them. Professor F. G. Parson, in a treatise on THE EARLIER INHABITANTS OF LONDON, recently alluded to the part played by the three great stocks, Mediterranean, Alpino and Nordic, in peopling Britain. He emphasized the different physical and mental characteristics of these races, with a view to answering the question: WHO WERE THE ANCIENT BRITONS? and I venture to suggest that it was the men of the Nordic race who came to the Thames via Southern Scandinavia, and christened the spot, where later on LONDON was built, with the name of LUND.
Another authority, Dr. Hans K. F. Günther, states that some 2,000 years B.C. the Dinarian races came to the British Isles via the Continent, He further maintains that these people abandoned their mother tongue for the language of the Northern races, which even at this very early period appeared as a distinct language in Britain.
After the Dinarians came the Northern Celts, who drove away the Dinarian BEAKER MAKERS. Here again is evidence of Northern influence, and it is manifest that the language spoken in the South of Britain at this early time was at least mixed with THE LANGUAGE OF THE NORTHMEN. This, I think, lends colour to the theory advanced.
There is ample evidence in the English and Swedish museums of the close intercourse between England and Scandinavia in prehistoric times, an intercourse which has probably gone on uninterruptedly for some 6,000 years, as the many place-names of Swedish origin in Yorkshire and elsewhere will attest. There is still a place in Yorkshire called LUND evidently of Swedish origin. In this connection, reference may be made of the name of the old cathedral and university town of LUND, in the Scania Province, South of Sweden. This city obtained its name from a sacred grove, which was in existence there in pagan times. It is believed that the town was founded by King Canute the Great, who named it after this sacred grove; probably having London also in mind.
At this time LUND was not only the chief commercial city and centre of culture of the Eastern part of the Danish Empire, but of the whole of Scandinavia. The city of LUND had important commercial connections with LONDON, and King Canute may have deemed it a fitting name to bestow on this, his mighty city in the North.
The Scania province, where Lund is situated, was an ancient kingdom, with a separate people, probably the oldest in Northern Europe. Scania possessed a high degree of culture even in the Bronze Age, as is evidenced from examination of the numerous tombs discovered.
The Romans called their city LONDINIUM AUGUSTA. The Latin name of the Swedish town now referred to was, even up to the 19th century, LONDINIUM GOTHORUM, or LONDINIUM SCANORUM, i.e., the London of the Goths, or the London of the Scania people.
Mr. James Wm. Barnes Steveni, in his recently published book UNKNOWN SWEDEN, tells us that "Lund in Yorkshire, Lund in Skåne, (Sweden) and London were probably the sites of sacred groves, where the priests of the Bronze Age used to offer human sacrifices to the Sun-god."
ABCHURCH LANE (Lombard Street - Cannon Street). - Named after the church of St. Mary Abchurch, situated on the western side of the lane. The name may be a variant of Upchurch, as the church stands on slightly rising ground. Earliest recorded form Abbechurch Lane.
ABCHURCH YARD (on the north-west side of Abchurch Lane.) - This site was originally occupied by St. Mary Abchurch churchyard, hence the name.
ADDLE HILL (Carter Lane - Queen Victoria Street). - Called in 13th-15th centuries Aethelinge Street, which name is derived from the Saxon name Aetheling (see Watling Street), which means a nobleman, of which there are similar words with the same meaning in the Swedish language, namely: Adel and Adling. In 1587, 1591, and 1600 the name is found in manuscripts in the form of Adling Street, and also as King Adling Street according to Stow (1633). It is evident from the name of this street that the nobles once dwelt there.
ADDLE STREET (Wood Street - Aldermanbury). - In 1305 Addelane, but in 1367 Athelane suggesting Aethel as in Addle Hill, but this little street could hardly have been styled noble. The forms Adel and Adle Street appearing later, are consistent with the old English word Adela = addle filth, and Mr. Bonner thinks this is the most likel y explanation of the name. Stow says he does not know the origin of the name. (Compare note on Addle Hill.)
ADELAIDE PLACE (north side at London Bridge). - At London Bridge end of King William Street. Named after King William IV's Consort, Queen Adelaide, who accompanied the King when he opened the new London Bridge, on August 1st, 1831.
ALDERMANBURY (Fore Street - Gresham Street). - Ancient Aldermanesburi. The name is of Saxon origin, viz., Aldor-mann, a man advanced in years. The same word appears in the Swedish language, viz., Alder-man, the master or oldest man of a City Guild. Burh = bury, Sw., borg, or a fortified place, thus the Street name indicates that here stood an Alderman's mansion. The "Court" or "Bury of Aldermen" of the City was held in this street and constituted the first Guildhall. Northern end of street earlier called Jasper Street. The entrance to the old Guildhall was in Aldermanbury.
ALDERMANBURY AVENUE (Aldermanbury - Philip Lane). - Erected 1885. The site was formerly occupied by Sion College. (See Aldermanbury.)
ALDERMANBURY POSTERN (London Wall - Fore Street). - This street is a continuation northwards of Aldermanbury. Earlier names Little Postern and First Postern. Named from the street Aldermanbury and marking the site of one of the old City postern gates.
ALDERMANS WALK (west out of Bishopsgate near Liverpool Street). - This short passage runs south of White Hart Court (see this name). In Strype's time this passage lead to a large house and garden belonging to Francis Dashwood, Alderman of Walbrook Ward. The passage was called Dashwoods Walk, and later on the present name was adopted.
ALDERSGATE STREET (continuation of St. Martins Le Grand). - Often named Alldredsgate, Aldrichesgate, and in 1460 Aldresgate, it is said, after a silversmith of that name, but that is, of course, nonsense. The name of Aldersgate may be found in about thirty different spellings, and is of extreme antiquity and contains a tradition. Alders-gate was one of the earliest openings of the City Wall, being in existence in 1243, but less ancient than Bishops-gate, named as being the oldest and first of the City gates. The Alders-gate was demolished in 1761.
ALDGATE (the Street begins at junction of Fenchurch and Leadenhall Streets and continues as Aldgate High Street [formerly Whitechapel Street] until passing City boundary, when it becomes Whitechapel High Street). - The street which runs westward from Aldgate was formerly called Aldgate Street, and in Stow's time it bore this name as far as Lime Street. The street obviously derived its name from the gate, which is first named in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles 1052 as "Aest Geat" (the New Gate apparently being the West Gate), but already in 1095 the name was changed to Ealsegate, with a later variation Alegate (1108) and in 1539 Aldegate.
ALL-HALLOWS LANE (along east side of Cannon Street station). - Leads down to All-hallows Lane stairs and pier. Earlier name was Alhalloes Lane alias Hay Wharfe Lane. Stow calls the lane' Church Lane as named after the Church of All-hallows the Great, demolished 1894. The tower had already in 1876 been taken down when Upper Thames Street was widened. Hallow = saint. O.E. halwe, halig = holy.
AMEN-CORNER (former Amen Lane) and
AMERICA SQUARE (off John Street, Minories). - Built between 1761 and 1774. Origin unknown. Probably merchants dealing with American markets had their quarters here.
ANCHOR WHARF (leading south out of Upper Thames Street and situated between Crown and Horse Shoe Wharf and Albion Wharf). - Former names Timber Wharf (1746) and Anderson's Wharf (1799) and also Anchor Lane. Baynard Castle once occupied this site (See Castle Baynards Wharf.)
ANGEL COURT (on the west side of Friday Street). - The Angel used to be the sign of stationers'shops.
ANGEL COURT (off the north side of Throgmorton Street). - Probably named after an inn of this name. "The Angel" was a name often given to the inns of London and there is still a well-known public house of that name at Islington. This popular inn sign was originally adopted in commemoration of the Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the angel was represented with the scroll in his hands, containing the words, "Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus Tecum."
ANGEL STREET (King Edward Street - St. Martin' s Lane) . - Earlier called Angel Alley and mentioned in 1649. On the north side of the street an Angel Inn was once situated and this inn may have given the name to this little thoroughfare.
APOLLO'S COURT (behind the Law Courts branch of the Bank of England in Fleet Street). - Named after Apollo's Club at the Devil Tavern, which stood on the opposite side of Fleet Street not very far from this spot. (See also Bell Yard.)
ARTHUR STREET (Upper Thames Street - King William Street). - I have not been able to trace the origin of the name of this street. The street does not appear in maps published at the beginning of the 19th century.
AUSTIN FRIARS (a courtway leading from Old Broad Street near its junction with Throgmorton Street). - Named after what is now the Church of the Dutch Colony in London, and all that remains of the Augustinian Monastery founded in 1253.
AUSTRALIAN AVENUE (Barbican - Jervin Crescent). - First mentioned in 1894. Built on the site of Fig-tree Court and Trafalgar Place. Apparently named in commemoration of the City's important relations with the Australian Commonwealth.
AVE MARIA LANE (Warwick Lane - Ludgate Hill). - According to Stow, so named as text-writers and makers of beads (Ave Marias) sold their wares here to the worshippers at St. Paul's Cathedral. (See also Paternoster Row.)
BAKEHOUSE YARD (on east side of Godliman Street). – Named after the old Paul's bakehouse, which supplied the bread for the Cathedral staff.
BALL COURT (south out of Cornhill at No. 38). – First mentioned in 1799 but of earlier date without a name.
BARBICAN (eastern end of Long Lane, Smithfield). – This word is from the French "barbacane," Spanish "barbacana," Italian "barbacane," and is possibly of Persian or Arabic origin – barbãr khãnah = house in the wall. Stow says that the word is identical to burgh-kenning or a watch-tower, and this statement is confirmed by Stukeley in his "Itinerary" wherein he says that a Roman "specula" or watch-tower stood near the north-west angle of the walls and this was appropriated by the Saxons for the same purpose and received the name of burh-beacon (city-beacon) – the Barbican of the present day. (See also Cripplegate.)
BARGE YARD (access from south side of Queen Victoria Street at the corner of Bucklersbury). (See Walbrook.)
BARKING ALLEY (on south side of Bayward Street). – Runs along the north side of All-hallows Barking Church into Tower Street and Tower Hill. The alley takes its name from the church. Earliest mention is in the form Berkingche chirche. A chapel called Berkying Chapel, erected by Richard I., adjoined the churchyard. It has been suggested that the name of Barking was added to the dedication because of the connection of the church with the Abbey of Barking to distinguish it from other London churches dedicated to All-hallows.
BARNARD'S INN (a court off north – east side of Fetter Lane). – Formerly an Inn of Chancery appertaining to Gray's Inn. Originally called Mackworth's Inn, from having belonged to Dr. John Mackworth, Dean of Lincoln, temp. Henry VI., but when converted into an Inn of Chancery it was in the occupation of one Barnard, whose name it has since borne. Purchased 1881 by the Worshipful Company of Mercers, which utilizes the old Hall in connection with other newer buildings for a school where 300 boys are educated.
BARTHOLOMEW CLOSE. – The exact position or extent of this most irregular combination of squares and winding streets is difficult to define. It is equally difficult to find, although it has several accesses from Little Britain, and through narrow courts from Long Lane and Aldersgate Street. A Priory and Hospital dedicated to St. Bartholomew were founded here in the year 1123. The church remains in parts and is one of the few memorials from Norman London.
BARTHOLOMEW LANE (along the east side of Bank of England). – At the northern end of this lane stood the church St. Bartholomew-by-the-Exchange (Royal Exchange), and which name is commemorated in this little thoroughfare.
BARTLETT BUILDINGS (a short street leading into Holborn Circus). – Named as far back as 1615 after one Thomas Bartlett.
BARTLETTS PASSAGE (Fetter Lane – Bartlett Buildings). – (See Bartlett Buildings.)
BASINGHALL STREET (Gresham Street – London wall). – Earlier denomination Bassishaw Street, and in the 14th century Basinghall Lane. Stow uses the name Bassinges Hall Street. Here stood, on the western side of the present Guildhall, Bakewell Hall, corruptly called Blackewall Hall.* This Hall – according to Stow – belonged to the family of Bassings, "which was in this realm a name of great antiquity and renown," and bore also the name of that family, and was called Bassings Haugh or Hall. Mr. Riley points out the existence of two distinct families and derives the name of the old Bassishaw Ward from the haw or haug (court yard) of the "Bassets." In 1216 the mansion of Solomon Bassing, Lord Mayor, stood here. The street took its name from the Hall of the Bassings.
* [W. Besant (1904) states that the original "Blackwell" Hall was later on called Bassing Hall.]
BEECH STREET (the eastern continuation of Barbican). – Originally called Beech Lane. It is said by Stow to have been named after Nicholas de la Beech, Lieutenant of the Tower in the reign of Edward III.
BEER LANE (Great Tower Street – Lower Thames Street). – Earlier forms Berc Lane (1539), Bear Lane, Beere Lane and Bere Lane (1666). Maskell suggests that the lane was so called either as the highway to Brewer's Quay, or else from the sign of the Bear. There seems to be no record of a Brewer's Quay in this neighbourhood. There was a messuage in Aldersgate Street called "Le Bere" which name seems to correspond with the original name and spelling of this lane. It has been suggested that Beer Lane is to be identified with Berewards Lane, All-hallows, Barking, opposite Beer Lane's exit into Great Tower Street. The old word "berewarde" was equivalent to bearward or a keeper of a bear. The name suggests a place for bear – baiting in this neighbourhood and this may explain the origin of the name of this lane.
BELLE SAUVAGE YARD (See La Belle Sauvage Yard).
BELL YARD (Carter Lane – Knightrider Street). – Named after the Bell Tavern, where Shakespeare used to meet his companions,
BELL YARD (north out of Fleet Street at Temple Bar to Carey Street). – The southern end lies in the City, but the northern portion is within the City of Westminster. The western side is now occupied by the railings of the Law Courts. APOLLO COURT formerly occupied a portion of the site. Name derived from the tenement "le Belle." Here stood the Bell Tavern, an ancient hostelry belonging to the Priors of St. John and mentioned in the Parish Register for 1572. Fortescue, the friend of Pope, once lived in a house at the upper end of this alley which he termed "that filthy old place." Here stood early in the 18th century Wills Coffee House, formerly called the Apollo, thus named after the Apollo Music Room in the Devil tavern, formerly situated on the opposite side of Fleet Street. In Horwood's plan of 1799 APOLLO COURT approximately marks the site of, and no doubt takes its name from, this coffee-house. (See also Apollo's Court.)
BELL YARD (west out of Gracechurcb Street at No. 12). – A property, "The Bell," is mentioned in the will of William Horsepool in 1604, and was given to the parish of All Hallows, Lombard Street. In 1810 the "Bell Inn" was situated here. Yard named after this inn.
BENNET'S HILL (Queen Victoria Street – Upper Thames Street). – Opposite the College of Arms, Former names St. Bennet's Hill, St. Benet's Lane. The street is named after one of Wren's churches, St. Benet, Paul's Wharf, which is situated here. This church is now used for services in Welsh. The church is probably called from its dedication to St. Benedict, an Italian Saint, and founder of the order of Benedictine monks.
BEVIS MARKS (between Duke Street and Camomile Street, running parallel with Houndsditch). – According to Stow, a corruption of Burie's Marks, the name of a mansion belonging to the Abbots of Bury St. Edmunds, of Suffolk, and after the Dissolution to the Heneages, which name survives in Heneage Lane out of Bevis Marks. Another explanation is that the name of this street maybe derived from Bevis, an obsolete word meaning cattle.
BILLINGSGATE MARKET (Lower Thames Street). – In the 12th century a legend of "Belinius, King of Britain," was invented and spread to account for the name of this market place, but according to credible writers the "Billings" were Teutonic gods, ancestors of Wodin. Though reputed to be a water-gate, Billingsgate was in reality an artificial harbour and dock, connected by Stow with an owner named Beling or Biling. In Sweden Billing is also a personal name. A fish market has been established here since very early times. It is mentioned in a Proclamation of 1297 as a landing stage not only for fish, but also for other market produce. Stow also speaks of this place as Porters Key, so named after the owner.
BILLITER AVENUE (Fenchurch Avenue – Billiter Street). – First mentioned in 1901. (See Billiter Street.)
BILLITER SQUARE (west out of Billiter Street, leading to Fenchurch Avenue). – Mentioned in 1708 as very small but pleasant and good buildings. Named after Billiter Street.
BILLITER STREET (Fenchurch Street – Leadenhall Street). – Many variations of this name appear, the earliest being Belzeters in 1298, later Beliters in 1318, to become Byllyter in 1531, and 1591 the present form became prevalent. The metal workers selling their wares at the Leaden Hall lived in the courts round the Hall in this neighbourhood. The Bell founders, or Bell jetours, used to live where Billiter Street now is, hence the name in its original form.
BIRCHIN LANE (Cornhill – Lombard Street). – The earliest form of this name is Bercheners Lane, evidently taken from a personal name. Stow thought the name was a corruption of Birchervere, the first builder and owner of the houses in this lane. In 1386 the name was spelt Birchen Lane, and since 1472 according to the present style. At the beginning of the 17th century this lane was a place where dealers in second-hand clothes met. According to a couplet out of an old play:
"Birchin Lane shall suit us,
The costermonger fruit us."
BIRD-IN-HAND COURT (a small courtyard off the south side of Cheap side, eastern end). – Originally NAKED BOY ALLEY, no doubt from some sign, but from 1677 called as above or Bird-in-Hand Alley. Here stands "Simpson's," famous all over the world for their "Fish ordinaries," accompanied by "the guessing of the height, girth and weight of the cheese." It is on record that in 1708 there existed a tavern on the same site where "Simpson's" now stands. "The Bird-in-Hand" is a name fairly frequent for old hostelries. At No. 17, Long Acre, with entrance from Conduit Court a public house will be found bearing that name and displaying a sign with the following proverb:
"A bird in the hand is better far
Than two that in the bushes are."
One of the houses in this little court used to be the Queen's Arms Tavern and most probably still earlier there may have existed a tavern called "The Bird-in-Hand."
BISHOPSGATE. – Until recently divided in two parts, namely, Bishopsgate Street Within (i.e., within the Old City Wall), and Bishopsgate Street Without. This street is named after the old City Gate, which was cut through the City Wall at this place. The Gate is called in the "Doomsday Book" Porta Episcopi, and in the 12th century Bissopsgate. Some historians agree that the Gate was named after Bishop Erkenwald who lived and flourished in A.D. 675, and was a son of Offa, King of Mercia. It is, however, likely that the name Bishopsgate was only adopted in the 12th century, or perhaps later, when the old City Wall was being rebuilt. This gate may have been one of the four original gates of the City and was rebuilt by one of the London Bishops. Stow thinks the gate was built by a Bishop of London but gives no name. The last gate was demolished in 1760.
BLACKFRIARS BRIDGE (the most westerly of the City's three public Bridges). – The Blackfriars (Dominican) Monastery stood on the northern site of the River and dated from 1276. The first Blackfriars Bridge was begun in 1760, and opened for foot – passengers in 1766 and vehicular traffic in 1769. The present bridge was begun in 1865 and completed in 1870. It was widened in 1897 to take the trams across to South London.
BLACK RAVEN ALLEY (south off Upper Thames Street at No. 104). – Mentioned already in 1574. Former names seem to have been Puppes Aley and Popys Alley. In this latter place stood a tenement called Black Raven which explains the present name of this little alley.
BLACK SWAN ALLEY (south out of London Wall at No. 43). – Named from the sign of the Black Swan Inn.
BLOMFIELD STREET (London Wall – Liverpool Street). – This street ran along the east side of old Bethlam Hospital situated in Lower Moorfield, what is now Finsbury Circus (see this name). The street is, in 1799, styled "Little Moorfield and Broken Row" and, in 1829, Bloomfield Place. The present name dates from 1831. Harben states the street is named after Lord Blomfield.
BLUE BOAR COURT (east out of Friday Street at No. 54). – Strype spells the name Blew Bore Court. Named after an ancient hostelry.
BOAR'S HEAD COURT (south out off Fleet Street at No. 66). – This court is situated to the east of Tun-in-Bolt Court. The Bores Hed Alley is mentioned in Queen Elizabeth's time and as Bores Hed Court in 1677. Named after the "Bores hede," a messuage in Fleet Street which was granted to the Carmelite Friars in 1442.
BOLT COURT (leading from the north side of Fleet Street into GoughSquare). – W. W. Hutchings says that this court is probably named after the Bolt-in-Tun tavern situated on the opposite side of Fleet Street, but Bolt was also a family name. Stow mentions one John Bolte, merchant of the Staple in 1459. Dr. S. Johnson lived at No. 8. (See also Bolt-in-Tun Yard.).
BOLT-IN-TUN YARD (or COURT) (entered through a passage from the northern side of Fleet Street). – Named after an old Tavern "Bolt-in-Tun" which existed already in the 15th century.
BOND COURT (east out of Walbrook at No. 31). – First mentioned in 1672 as Bond's Court. Named after an owner, probably Alderman William Bond of Walbrook Ward (1649).
BOUVERIE STREET (Tudor Street – Fleet Street). – Erected towards the end of the 18th century. The White Friars occupied the site in 1677. The origin of the name is unknown.
BOY COURT (north out of Ludgate Hill at No. 60). – Formerly known as Naked Boy Court and earlier as "Flower de luce Court." The earlier name derived from a sign which is said to have been used to illustrate the ever-changing of fashions which took place in England, making it difficult to decide what a mode of dress to adopt.
BOTOLPH LANE (Eastcheap – Lower Thames Street). – Named after the church of St. Botolph, which stood on the south side of Thames Street. Destroyed in the Great Fire and not rebuilt. BOW LANE (off Cheapside). – Named after the Church St. Mary-le-Bow, the first church to be built on "bows" or stone arches. Dr. Classen considers this explanation very doubtful. He thinks that Bow, whatever it means, describes Mary, just as in Mary-le-Bone, and he wonders if it is not just another form of Marylebone. Part of the crypt of this church is still intact. Earlier (in 1307) known as CORDWAINER STREET in many different spellings, and this name still survives in the name of the Ward. A Cordwainer was a shoe-maker or worker in cordwane, that is, leather from Cordova in Spain, which was a new leather in comparison to the old leather called "cobblers." In 1365, and for over 200 years known as HOSIER LANE, so named as the hosiers had their shops here in Plantagenet's time. Prior to that time they congregated in Hosier Lane near Smithfield. (See also Hosier Lane.) The name of Bow Lane does not appear until about 1550.
BREAD STREET (off Cheapside). – The Liber Albus; the White book of the City of London, compiled when Dick Whittington was Lord Mayor, says: "Of Bakers... that no baker shall sell bread before his oven, but only in the market of his Lordship the King." This place was an open market in 1302 for bakers of Bromley and Stratford-le-Bow who were forbidden to sell bread in their shops or homes. The bread market, however, gave the name to the street long before Whittington's time the name Bredstrate appearing already in 1180.
BREAD STREET HILL (Queen Victoria Street – Upper Thames Street). – In olden times a continuation of Bread Street.
BREWERS LANE (Upper Thames Street – Greenwich Street). – Runs parallel with Dowgate Dock. In Stow's time called GRANTHAM'S LANE after one John Grantham sometime Mayor whose house in that lane at that time – unusual enough – was built of stone. Afterwards Ralph Dodmer, a brewer and Mayor in 1529, dwelt there. The house was afterwards degraded to a brewhouse, giving, in 1677, the present name to this lane. Called Brewhouse Lane in 1799.
BRICK COURT (off Middle Temple Lane, inner Temple). – Mentioned in 1674. Here stood one of the earliest brick buildings in the Temple, hence the name.
BRICK HILL LANE (off 77, Upper Thames Street). – Near the west bank of the old Wall Brook there was once a mound of clay suitable for bricks and this fact seems to have been commemorated, centuries ago, in the name of this little lane, still known as Brick Hill Lane, although there is no longer any hill, for all the clay that formed it has long ago been used. These remarks are made by Mr. William C. Edwards in an article published in the "Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archæological Society," Vol. V., Part 1. (1923), but Stow calls the lane Herber or Brikels' Lane "so called of John Brikels, sometime owner thereof." There is a record of John Brickell or Brykles having left houses in Harbour Lane to the Parish of All Saints in Haywharf in 1440. There is an old spelling Brykle's Lane and Mr. Edwards may not be right in saying that the present name has anything to do with a clay hill suitable for bricks.
BRIDE LANE (Fleet Street – New Bridge Street). – First mentioned in 1349 as Bride Lane and later as Briddes Lane. Named after St. Bride's Church along which the lane runs. (See Bridewell Place.)
BRIDEWELL PLACE (Tudor Street – New Bridge Street). – Name derived from a famous well which flowed in the vicinity of St. Bride's Church. Here stood the prison of Bridewell, demolished in 1863. The place was once known as Lob's Pound, but the origin of this term is lost.
BRIDGEWATER STREET (Barbican – Bridgewater Square). – Before 1885 known as Princes Street, but then named after Milton's patron the Earl of Bridgewater, who had a town house here, almost on the site of the present Cripplegate Institute. (See Bridgewater Square.).
BRIDGEWATER SQUARE (at the north end of Bridgewater Street). – Erected about 1708 on the site of the Earl of Bridgewater's house, which gave the name to the square and to the street.
BROAD STREET. – (See Old and New Broad Street.)
BROAD STREET AVENUE (branches out of New Broad Street at the Liverpool Street end). – Evidently named after Broad Street.
BROADWAY (Carter Lane – Pilgrim Street). – This little street is a continuation northwards of Water Lane. Earlier names Black Fryers Lane (1666). Present name appears in 1799 but even at that time the street could not have justified its name. The lane is far from broad and to name it thus seems to be a joke.
BROKEN WHARF (off Upper Thames Street). – Mentioned as early as 1329 and 1349, which fact led Sir Walter Besant to think that the City Wall and not the Wharf was broken at this place. This is, however, not correct, In an Inquisition 34 Henry III. as to whether ships had a right to draw up alongside the wharf, it was stated that the wharf was used by both the Abbot of Chertsey and the Abbot of Hamme, and that they disputed 40 years before about the maintenance of the wharf with the result that the wharf was allowed to decay. It became broken (or rotten) and that is evidently the origin of its present name which dates back to the period mentioned. Other old spellings are Broken Wharfe Kaia, Le Brokene Wharf, and La Brokene Werf.
BROOKE STREET falls only a few yards within the City proper and runs from Holborn No. 142 northwards to St. Alban's Church. Here stood Earl of Bath's house, purchased in 1619 by Sir Fulke Greville, later Lord Brooke. The house was later on known as "Brooke House" and gave the street its name.
BROOKS WHARF (off Upper Thames Street, to the west of Stew Lane, Queenhithe Dock). – Original name Bocking Wharffe but in 1532 this wharf, was named "Brooke's Warfe," alias "Dockynges Wharfe," (D probably an error for B), and was granted to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. The present name is thus very ancient and is not derived from Thomas Broke who was granted this wharf after the dissolution of the monasteries (1544). This grant included the structures already known as Dockingeys Key and Brokes Key. Up to 1830 there was also a Brooks Wharf Lane, now extinct.
BROOKS YARD (to the east of Lambeth Hill, at 217, Upper Thames Street). – Close by stands the tower of St. Mary Somerset. This end of the yard is called Bell Alley in Ogilby and Morgan's map. In Horwood's map (1799) it is called "George Court."
BRUSHFIELD STREET (east out of Bishopsgate at No. 238). – Only the western part situated within the City. Former name Union Court. Present name dates from 1870, but origin unknown.
BUCKLERSBURY (narrow street between Cheap – side, Queen Victoria Street, and Poultry). – The name can be traced as far back as 1104, when one Warinus Bucherel is mentioned in City Records, and again in 1129, when Ricardo and Stephano Bucherello are mentioned. These gentlemen were clearly of Italian origin and probably of the Boccherelli family, of Pisa. In the 13th century the Bukerel family was one of the leading City families, and Andrew Bukerel held the position of Mayor from 1231 to 1236. His residence, Bukerel's Bury, stood here and gave the name to the street. In a document of 1291 a tenement of Bokerelesberi is mentioned, no doubt the mansion of the family. The spelling of bury varies from time to time, but originates from the Anglo-Saxon burgh, which signified a fortified place, but in the 12th century it simply meant a house or a mansion. Different forms of spelling bury are beri, bery, and bere. Broadly speaking burgh is the Northern form, as in Edinburgh; borough the Midland form and bury the Southern. A market for herbs and fruits was held here but abolished after the Great Fire. The expression "to smell like Bucklersbury," in the "Merry Wives of Windsor," is thus explained.
BUDGE ROW (Queen Victoria Street – Cannon Street). – The ancient style was Bogerowe (in 1356) also Begerow (in 1376). In 1560 the spelling was Budgrowe. This neighbourhood was once the quarter of the dealers in budge or lamb-skin (skinners), which was used as trimming for robes. In the old Lord Mayor's processions of London there were, in the first division, the "budge bachelors marching in measured order," dressed in blue gowns trimmed with budge fur, white. Bishop Corbet, in his "Iter Boreale," speaks of
——— a most officious drudge,
His face and gown drawn out with the same budge;
implying that his beard and habit were of like colour. Budge (Bouch) is also an Anglo-French word meaning mouth.
BULLS' HEAD PASSAGE (east out of Gracechurch Street at No. 81). – First mentioned in 1758. The Bull Head was not an uncommon name of Taverns and Bull Head Courts were once plentiful in London. One of these inns was probably situated on this site.
BULL WHARF LANE leading to
BURGON STREET (Carter Lane – Ireland Yard). – Earlier name New Street but from 1885 named after Dean Burgon.
BURY COURT (connecting St. Mary Axe and Bury Street) and
BURY STREET (out of Bevis Marks)
BUSH LANE (Cannon Street – Thames Street). – Spelt in 1486 Busshe Lane. Name derived from Busshe which was the medieval form of the present name of Bush
BUTLER STREET (Milton Street – Moor Lane). – First mentioned in 1894. Earlier called Butlers Alley. From which Butler the mane originates is not recorded.
BYWARD STREET (Great Tower Street – Trinity Square). – Formerly named Great Tower Street and constituted the northern arm of this street, but the present street was completed during the last years of the last century when the new name was given to it.
CAMOMILE STREET (Bishopsgate – Bevis Marks). – First mentioned in 1677. It is surmised that this street was named from the fields of camomile situated in this neighbourhood within the old City Wall.
CANNON ALLEY (St. Paul's Churchyard – Paternoster Row). – Former names: Petty Cannons, Petty Canons Alley (1677). Present name from 1732. Commemorates the College of the Minor Canons of St. Paul's.
CANNON STREET (King William Street – St. Paul's Churchyard). – The variations in the name of this street number not less than 60, and are of much interest. The name dates back to the 12th century. The earliest form was Candelwrithe Street (1190) from candel and writh, i.e., a candlemaker, or the street of the candlemakers or wax chandlers, a thriving trade in the days of Popery. The Candlewick form became general after 1285, which later became Canwick, which was pronounced "Cannick," and this pronunciation was later on transferred into Canning. Subsequently the "g" was dropped, and from Cannin there was a short step to the present form of Cannon. It is known that the wax chandlers congregated in this neighbourhood, and that they had their Livery Hall in Dowgate Hill off Cannon Street where a later Hall of this Livery Company still stands. The original name of the street is thus derived from the candlemakers' trade carried on here. This part was the centre of the trade, and the old name survives in the Candlewick Ward.
CAPEL COURT (the entrance to the Stock Exchange from Bartholomew Lane). – Old name Ship Court (1677), Black Swan Yard, but from the 18th century the present name. Named after Sir William Capel, Draper and M.P. for the City of London in 1491, and elected Mayor in 1503. He died 1515 and was buried in St. Bartholomew-by-the-Exchange Church, which was pulled down to make room for the Bank of England extension. Capel was the ancestor of the present Earls of Essex, and was a wealthy man lending money to Henry VIII., but he voluntarily destroyed bonds for a very large amount. He was evidently a leading financier in the City at that time, and it is only proper that his name should have been commemorated in the entrance leading to the present Stock Exchange
CAREY LANE (Foster Lane – Gutter Lane). – In 1306 Kyron Lane and in 1361 Kyroun Lane. Stow gives the name as Kery Lane. Later spellings include Kerry Lane, Carie Lane and Cary Lane. The name may be connected with the family name of Kerion or Kirone. (See Maiden Lane.) Stow says the place was named after one Kery but that does not agree with the older spellings. There is also a Carey Street to the west of Chancery Lane (outside the City) which is mentioned in its present form 1708. Nicholas Carey lived in that street and gave the name to it.
CARLISLE AVENUE (Northumberland Alley – Jewry). – This avenue dates only from the end of the last century. Earlier names of this site were Northumberland Mews and Northumberland Court. (See Northumberland Alley.) In 1746 the name was Coach Yard. In Ordnance Survey map, 1894-6 the site is marked as Carlisle Buildings.
CARMELITE STREET (continuation of Whitefriars Street, leading into Victoria Embankment). – Named (1901) after the White Friars or the Friars of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel. (See Whitefriars Street.)
CARTER LANE (Water Lane – Old 'Change). – In 1295 named Carter Strete and later Carteris Lane. The western portion was in 1653 called SHOEMAKERS ROW until 1848, when the name was changed to Shoemakers Lane, but in 1866 this name was abolished and the whole street was called Carter Lane. Harben states that the early form of the name suggests that it was intended to commemorate a former owner of property here. In this connection it may be mentioned that Chequer Yard, which was demolished in 1860 to give place for the Cannon Street Station, used to be called Carter Lane because, says Stow, carmen (or carters) had stables there.
CARTHUSIAN STREET (Aldersgate to Charter – house Square, the latter Square lying outside the City boundary). – Charterhouse is a corruption of Chartreuse, the house belonging to that Order of Monks, or the Carthusians, founded in Chartreuse in France, well known as the home of the liqueur of that name. The street is named after the convent of the monks.
CASTLE BAYNARD WHARF (off west end of Upper Thames Street). – Here stood Castle Baynard, named after Ralph Bainard, one of William the Conqueror's followers. On its site was erected by the Black Friars, or Dominicans, a Monastery in 1276.
CASTLE COURT (to the east of Birchin Lane to St. Michael's Alley). – Former names Castle Alley and St. Michael's Alley. The name derived from a sign of "The Castle" a common tavern name in the old city.
CASTLE COURT (to the west of Lawrence Lane at No. 22). – Mentioned in 1677 and named from the sign of an inn.
CATHARINE COURT (demolished in 1914). – An old-world court which connected Seething Lane with Trinity Square, and is now included in the site for the new Port of London Authority building. Prior to 1732 known as GREEN ARBOUR COURT.
CATHARINE WHEEL ALLEY (east out of Bishopsgate at No. 192 to Middlesex Street). – Mentioned already in 1637. In 1722 corruptedly referred to as Cat and Wheel Alley. Named from the Catherine Wheel Inn which stood on the east side of Bishopsgate. It has been suggested that this name was taken from the arms of the Turners' Company which shows a Catherine Wheel between two columns. There were several Catherine Wheel Yards in the City of old.
CAVENDISH COURT (a narrow passage leading from Houndsditch into Devonshire Square). – Named after the Cavendish family. Cavendish is the family name of the Dukes of Devonshire. (See Devonshire Square.)
CHANCERY LANE (Fleet Street – Holborn). – It was in 1227 called New Strate. Chaunceleres "dich" is mentioned in about 1263 and in 1278 the name was Convers Lane commemorating the House of Converts which stood in the lane. In 1339 the spelling was again Chauncelleres Lane. Chauncery Lane first appears in 1338 and the name may originate from the existence of. the legal Department of Rolls in this street. The Rolls Office took over the House of Converts.
CHANGE ALLEY (off Cornhill). – Named originally (1666) Exchange Alley from its close vicinity to the Royal Exchange. When the stockbrokers in 1698 left the Royal Exchange where they were not tolerated by the more sedate merchants, they congregated in this winding alley and took up their headquarters at Jonathan's Coffee House which may be looked upon as the foundation of the present Exchange. In the first quarter of the 18th century 'Change Alley was the great stock gambling centre where the so-called South Sea schemes were offered to the ruin of thousands of unwise investors. This gambling fever terminated in 1720 with the bursting of the South Sea bubble. Gay, in his "Panegyrical Epistle" writing of this gambling folly, said:
"Why did Change Alley waste thy precious hours
Among the fools who gaped for golden showers?
No wonder they were caught by South Sea schemes
Who ne'er enjoyed a guinea but in dreams."
Or, in the words of the ballad of the day, by Swift:
"There is a gulf where thousands fell,
There all the bold adventurers came;
A narrow sound, though deep as hell,
'Change Alley is the dreadful name."
Change Alley has five entrances – two from Cornhill, two from Lombard Street, and one from Birchin Lane.
CHAPEL COURT (north out of Poultry at No. 30). – In 1477 named Counter Alley (a corruption of Compter Alley?) and later on, Compter Court from the Poultry Compter which stood here. This Compter was a Sheriff's Prison and was of immemorial antiquity already in Stow's time. It was in use up to 1817, when the inmates were transferred to the Whitecross Street Prison. From 1831 the court has had its present name from the Poultry Chapel built 1839 partly on the site of the old Compter. In 1872 the chapel and the site was acquired by the London Joint Stock Bank, which partly utilized the old chapel.
CHAPEL STREET (Whitecross Street – Milton Street). – First mentioned in 1799, and named after a City Chapel situated here according to Lockie's Topography (1810).
CHAPTER HOUSE COURT (off the east side of Paul's Alley St. Paul's Churchyard). – This court gives access to the Chapter House. Earlier name Petty Cannons Court (1677). Present name from 1746.
CHARTERHOUSE STREET (Holborn Circus, along Smithfield Market to Charterhouse Square) This street follows the City boundary. Built during 1869-75. (See Carthusian Street.)
CHEAPSIDE (Bank – St. Paul's Churchyard) – Undoubtedly the most interesting street in the history of the City, as it may be looked upon as not only the oldest street, but as the original "High Street." It was mentioned already in the year 1066 as West Ceape. The old English Ceap signified a bargain, or barter, and in its later form Cheep indicated a market. Other forms were Cheap and Chepyng. The word "chaep" has an interesting history. It is probably derived from the Latin caupo, an innkeeper or a huckster, and from its presence in all the Germanic languages. Swed. köpa; Dan. kjöbe; Germ. kaufen, etc. It was probably borrowed very early when the German peoples first came into contact with the Roman empire. It originally meant buying and selling and still survives with this sense in place, names, such as Chepstone, Chipping (Swed. Koping) Copenhagen, and in such words as chapman (Swed, köprnan), chaffer = to bargain. The earlier nomination of West Cheap was apparently applied to distinguish it from East Cheap, the present Eastcheap. In the 16th century the form Chepessyd appears, from which the present spelling originated.
CHESHIRE COURT (off north side of Fleet Street). – Named after the old-fashioned tavern, "Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese," still existing, which claims to date from 1667, when the present house was rebuilt after the Great Fire. The foundation is, however, very much older. Former names of this court were Three Falcon Court and before that White Horse Inn.
CLARK'S PLACE (east out of Bishopsgate at No. 86, leading into Wrestler's Court). – Earlier name Clark's Court after the common hall of the Parish Clerks (1598).
CLEMENT'S COURT (Milk Street – Wood Street). – Mentioned in 1677 but later, and up to 1755, called Fryer Court. There has been no church in this neighbourhood dedicated to St. Clement and origin of name is unknown.
CLEMENTS LANE (Lombard Street – King William Street). – In 1282 known as St. Clement's Lane. Named after the Church of St. Clement, Eastcheap, still standing at the King William Street end of Clement's Lane.
CLIFFORD'S INN (off Fetter Lane.)
CLOAK LANE (Queen Street – Dowgate Hill). – The name is probably derived from the Italian Cloaca = sewer. In ancient time a sewer ran along this street into Walbrook.
CLOISTER COURT (south out at Ireland Yard, Blackfriars). – Earliest spelling Cloyster Court, later on a corruption was Gloucester Court. This passage used to contain a fragment of the old monastery of Blackfriars and the court evidently obtained its name from the cloisters of Blackfriars.
CLOTH FAIR (a narrow street leading to Smithfield into a labyrinth of tiny streets to the north-east of the church of St. Bartholomew the Great). – Bartholomew Fair or Market was the great Cloth Fair of the country, and was held within the Priory Gates on the spot where Cloth Fair now runs. It was the ancient rendezvous of Italian and Flemish cloth merchants. This is one of the most picturesque old streets within the City boundary.
CLOTHIER STREET (east out of Cutler Street, Houndsditch). – Earlier names Crab Court and Carter Street, but from 1906 called Clothier Street from the dealers in old clothes who populate this district. The Clothes' Market (est. 1875) is close by in a court to the north of Houndsditch.
CLOTH STREET (leading south from Long Lane), marks its connection in olden times with the neighbouring Cloth Fair. COLD HARBOUR LANE, now extinct, led out southwards of Upper Thames Street, a little to the east of the present Suffolk Lane. The name is included in this book as its origin is so often discussed in the Press, many different opinions always being forthcoming. The name is a common one in England and is also found in London (Brixton and Poplar). In Upper Thames Street stood, in the reign of Edward II., a palatial mansion called Cold Harborough (See Laurence Pountney Lane). Later on this mansion became the residence of the Bishop of Durham (in the reign of Henry VIII.) and probably obtained the privileges of sanctuary. It was pulled down in 1590. The more likely origin of this name is the O.E. word herebage (inn), which in Old Swedish is "harberge," The word Cold Harbour denoted an inn which only gave cold or ungrateful shelter and no food. (Cold inn.)
COLEMAN STREET (Gresham Street – Fore Street). – This is one of the oldest streets in London. In 1170 the name appears as Colemanstreta. Coleman or Coalman is an old English name. There was a Bishop Coleman of Lindisfarne, who died in 676. In St. Margaret's Church, Lothbury, near the south end of Coleman Street, was a monument to Reginald Coleman, son of Robert Coleman buried there in 1383 Stow thought this Coleman was the builder of Coleman Street, and that he gave his name to this thoroughfare, but as the name can be traced much earlier, this is not correct, It is more probable that the name originated from the supposition that in the reign of King Alfred the charcoal-burners or coalmen who settled in this district, adjoining the Moor, at a very early date. The origin may also be identical to that of Seacole Lane, in so much as Traders in this commodity had their quarters here.
COLLEGE HILL (Cannon Street – Upper Thames Street), and
COLONIAL AVENUE (east out of Minories). Earlier name Fountain Court (or Alley) after the old Fountain Inn, pulled down in 1793.
COOPER'S ROW (Crutched Friars – Trinity Square and Tower Hill). – In 1282 and up to 1750 known as Woodroffe Lane, from the old English word wuderofe = modern woodruff, a woodland flower. It commemorates the family of Woodroffe. David W. was Sheriff in 1554. Present name from owner of property.
COPTHALL AVENUE (off south side of London Wall) and
CORBET COURT (west out of Gracechurch Street, between No. 5 and 6). – An early name was Offele Avenue (1555). Present name from 1677 after an owner.
CORDWAINER STREET. (See Bow Lane.)
CORNHILL (Bank – Leadenhall Street). – This name can be traced back to 1100. It was very early part of a system of markets connected with Eastcheap. The main road from the (London) Bridge to Bishops Gate was in early times bordered by several markets. First came the fish market at the gate of the landing stage, known as Billings, followed by Gracechurch and Fenchurch Markets, where hay was sold, and the Leadenhall Market place. (See for further reference under each name.) At the east end of Cornhill, near Fenchurch Street, existed for a long time a corn market for the City. In No. 65 Cornhill the "Cornhill Magazine" was started with Thackeray as its Editor.
COTTON STREET (to the west of Australian Street leading into Hare Court). – Built at the beginning of the 20th century on the site of some smaller courts.
COUSIN LANE (off Upper Thames Street, near Dowgate Hill). – The earlier form was Cosynes, Cousens and Cosin Lane. The name is evidently derived from the family name of Cosin or Cusin in the 13th century, who had property here, Peter Cusyn had a wharf here – in 1278 Stow says the lane was named after one William Cosing, Sheriff in 1306. It is evident that a prominent City family of the name of Cosin (modern style Cousin) lived here during some considerable time and gave the name to the lane.
COWPER'S COURT (off south end of Cornhill at No. 32). – Named after the family founded by John Cowper, Sheriff of London, in 1551. The first Earl Cowper, Lord Chancellor of Queen Anne was a descendant of this sheriff. Harben says more definitely the court is named after Sir Wm. Cooper (or Cowper) a large householder in this parish during James I. The name is spelt Coopers Court in 1799.
CRANE COURT (off Fleet Street, near Fetter Lane). – Earlier known as Two Crane Court. May have had some connection with the Crane Wharf. (See further under Three Cranes Lane.)
CREECHURCH LANE (off north side of Leadenhall street). – A corruption of Christchurch Lane, named after St. Catherine Creechurch (Christ Church at the corner of Leadenhall Street). The Lane was so named because it was built in the churchyard of the Priory of Holy Trinity Christ Church, corrupted into Creechurch. The change from Christchurch to Creechurch will be more easily understood if one remembers that Christ was formerly pronounced Chreest. On October 16th, every year, the so – called Lion service has been preached here for nearly 300 years.
CREED LANE (a short lane from South side of LudgateCircus, connecting same with Carter Lane). – Originally known as Spurriers Row, from the spurmakers who plied their craft here, but the present name dates back from the time of Queen Elizabeth. The name may be explained by the proximity of the street to St. Paul's Cathedral. (See also Paternoster Row.)
CRIPPLEGATE. – One of the old City gates, built in 1010. The district round St. Giles' Church at the west end of Fore Street is called Cripplegate, which name has also been given to a building. "Crepel geat" was a cover-way or tunnel in which the Roman soldiers used to creep from this northern bastion of the Wall, and along the narrow passage way to Barbican, a fortified outwork on the northern side. Maitland says the old gate was called "Porta Contractorurn" from the cripples who begged there." (See also London Wall.)
CROOKED LANE (a narrow passage to the west of King William Street). – Is now quite a straight street, but had originally many crooked windings before part of it was demolished to make wa for the new London Bridge approach, about 1830. Crooked Lane, spelt Crokeded Lane, is mentioned as early as 1281.
CROSBY SQUARE (off south side of Bishopsgate, from which entrance is gained through an iron gate). – Here stood, until 1907, part of the old Crosby Hall, since re-erected at Chelsea. This grand City palace was built by the grocer and Alderman Sir John Crosby, about 1470. When finally taken down in July, 1907, Crosby Hall had been used as a Nonconformist Chapel, a wine merchant's office, warehouse, and finally as a popular luncheon restaurant. In 1907 the palace was rebuilt on a site at Chelsea, which had once upon a time, belonged to Sir Thomas Moore, also owner of the original palace in the City. It has now been taken over for the purpose of providing an international hostel for university women. Crosby Square was built in 1677 on the site of some offices attached to Crosby Hall.
CROSS LANE (Harp Lane – St. Mary-at-Hill). – In Stow's time called Fowle Lane. Can the present name be on account of the lane crossing St. Dunstan's Churchyard? Or from the cross of the Church?
CROWN COURT (Fleet Street, near White Friars Street). – Opposite the Cheshire Court. Named probably from the old Crown public-house, now closed down.
CRUTCHED FRIARS (between Hart Street and Aldgate). – The Friars of the Holy Cross founded here a Monastery in 1298. These Friars belonged to the Augustine Order, established in Bologna in 1169. They wore a blue habit with a red cross on the back and front, hence their popular name Crotched or Crossed Friars, from which the name of the street was later on derived. After the Dissolution the site became private property, and in later years was utilized as a carpenter's yard, a tennis court, and also a drinking place. Afterwards the Navy Office was built on this site, to be superseded by an East India Company's warehouse, and now the place forms part of the site of the new Port of London Authority.
CULLUM STREET (off Fenchurch Street). – Originally Culver Alley. Near by stood the St. Denis Backchurch, which was destroyed in 1878, but the churchyard still remains in FEN COURT. The fine altar steps were given by Sir John Cullum, Sheriff, in 1646, whose name is commemorated in the street. He was owner of property in this street. This church contained a monument to Sir Arthur Ingram, dated 1681, from whom INGRAM COURT derives its name. Of Culver Alley Stow writes: "Where some time was a lane... into Lime Street... long since stopped up for suspicion of thieves that lurk in there by night." After having been "stopped up" Culver Alley was used as a tennis court. Yet Cullum Street still exists, and is mentioned by that name in the earliest London Directory, 1677. Stow offers no explanation of the original name, but it may be remembered that a culver is an old name for a pigeon, and pigeons have always found a home in the City's lanes and alleys.
CURRIERS ROW. – The name is now obsolete but in the 13th century the south side of Moorgate – falling within the City wall – was known as Curriers Row, as the tanners and producers of leather had established themselves in this district. There was also a CURRIERS ROW or ALLEY, south of Ireland Yard, Blackfriars, which was absorbed by Queen Victoria Street.
CURSITOR STREET (from Chancery Lane eastwards, crossing the City boundary). – In Stow's "Survey" called Cursitor Alley. Takes its name from the Cursitor's Office or Inn in Chancery Lane, founded by Sir Nicholas Bacon. The Cursitors, fourteen in number, prepared and issued writs on behalf of the Court of Chancery. The name is derived from Coursetours or Clerici de Cursu.
CUSTOM HOUSE QUAY (in Lower Thames Street). – Was opened on May 12th, 1817, and so named after the Custom House.
CUTLER STREET (off Houndsditch). – The original place of settlement for cutlers. Many houses in this neighbourhood still show the Arms of the Cutlers Company.
DARKHOUSE LANE (earlier to be found off 50, Upper Thames Street). – This little alley took its name from the Dark House, situated here in 1671. Billingsgate Market is now built on the site of it.
DEVONSHIRE STREET leads from Bishopsgate into
DEVONSHIRE SQUARE. – A quiet City square little known. Named after the town house of the Dukes of Devonshire, which stood here from 1620-70. Up to the year 1622 the Trained Bands of the City, later known as the Artillery Company of London, had their headquarters here before they moved to the present ground (H.A.C.).
DISTAFF LANE (Cannon Street – Knightrider Street). – The name can be traced back to the latter part of the 12th century as Dystave Lane. The original Distaff Lane ran east from St. Paul's Churchyard, parallel with and south of Watling Street, but was obliterated when Cannon Street was widened and extended to St. Paul's Churchyard, when Little Distaff Lane became Distaff Lane. The old English distaf had the present meaning of the distaff, a staff used to hold the flax for spinning. Presumably makers of distaffs dwelt here in early times.
DOCTORS' COMMONS. (See Carter Lane.)
DOWGATE HILL (a continuation of Walbrook along the west side of Cannon Street Station, leading to Dowgate Dock). – In records from 1150 and 1312 the name appears as Douegate. Also named Downgate by Stow "from its steep descent to the River." The supposed antiquity of Dowgate as the Dwr-gate or water gate to Watling Street of the Britons (Welsh Dwr = water gate) is somewhat doubtful as there is no evidence that this place existed previous to the Roman occupation. In Wren's Parentalia it is stated that the Romans had a gate in the wall next the Thames and this gate was called Dew-gate or anciently Dour-gate which signified the water gate into the City. The Wall Brook joined the Thames at this Dock. Here was the water-gate where the ferry from Surrey landed the travellers for the City. Dow-gate was the old port of the Normans and was utilized by the citizens of Rouen. Earlier anchorage for ships belonging to the merchants of the Hansa Steel Yard. In Dowgate Hill are three City Company's Halls, viz., the Tallow Chandlers, Skinners, and Dyers.
DORSET STREET (running south from Salisbury Square (Fleet Street) to Tudor Street). – (See Salisbury Square.)
DRAPERS GARDENS (leading out of Throgmorton Avenue). – Drapers Garden was originally a large public garden, belonging to the Drapers Livery Company, whose Hall is still situated here. The garden stretched northwards as far as to London Wall. Part of it is now covered by offices, and part was utilized for Throgmorton Avenue, which connects London Wall with Throgmorton Street.
DUCKS FOOT LANE (a continuation of Laurence Pountney Hill, and runs into Upper Thames Street betweenSuffolk Lane and Laurence Pountney Lane). – In 1720 known as Duxford, also Duxfield Lane (Duxfield = Duke's Field). This little lane might have been an approach to the Duke of Suffolk's house, which extended from Suffolk Lane on the west to Laurence Pountney Hill and Ducks Foot Lane on the east, and the meaning of the name was that the lane was the Duke's foot – lane, or private path, to his house.
DUKE STREET (connects Aldgate with Bevis Marks, continued by Camomile Street, which leads into Bishopsgate). – Previously Duke's Row; also Duke's Place (1652); takes the name of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, who inherited this property. Much inhabited by Jews, whom Oliver Cromwell allowed to settle in this locality in 1650.
DUNSTER COURT (south of Clothworker's Hall, Mincing Lane). – In a map of 1750 called Dunstans Court probably after St. Dunstans in the East and afterwards corrupted into the present name.
EASTCHEAP (Gracechurch Street – Great Tower Street). – As Westcheap (present Cheapside) is mentioned in 1076, it may be safely stated that Eastcheap then existed. The West and the East Cheap were apparently at that period the two principal City markets. The Eastcheap market was later on removed to Leaden Hall. It was especially a market for butchers, who concentrated here in the 12th century and later, and cooks or cookhouse-keepers were also to be found in this neighbourhood. (See Pudding Lane.)
EAST HARDING STREET (off Great New Street, near Gough Square). – Takes its name, like West Harding Street, from a certain widow, Agnes Hardinge, who owned considerable property in this neighbourhood, which she bequeathed in 1513 to the Goldsmiths' Company.
EAST INDIA AVENUE (off Leadenhall Place, and connected with a passage through East India Chambers with Leadenhall Street). – Named after the old East India House, the headquarters of the famous East India Company which was situated here, but demolished in 1862.
ELBOW LANE. – What is now College Street and Little College Street were in the 16th century one and the same street, going from the then Downgate Street westwards and suddenly turning southwards towards Thames Street and "therefore of that bending called Elbow Lane" (Stow). Later on the first part of Elbow Lane became Great Elbow Lane and the latter part turning southwards was called Little Elbow Lane, now Little College Street. (See also College Street.)
ELM COURT (leading into Tanfield Court, Temple). – Originally erected in 1630 and the name perpetuates the one-time presence of elm trees here. An earlier name Elm-tree Court bears out this conjecture
FALCON AVENUE (north out of Falcon Street). – Until 1894 called Golden Lion Court. (See Falcon Square.)
FALCON COURT (off south side of Fleet Street, opposite St.Dunstan's Church). – Probably named after the sign under which the industrious printer Wynkyn de Worde traded here in the beginning of the 16th century. It will be seen that Fleet Street has very early associations with the printing trade. Another explanation is that the court is named after the Falcon Tavern which was left by John Fisher in 1547 to the Cordwainers' Company.
FALCON SQUARE and
FARRINGDON ROAD (continuation north-wards of Farringdon Street). – Farringdon Road begins at the City boundary. (See Farringdon Street.)
FARRINGDON STREET (Ludgate Circus – Smithfield). – This street is continued by Farringdon Road, which, however, lies outside the City boundary and our sphere of interest. One hundred years ago this street was called Fleet Market, from the market held here for meat, fish, and vegetables; but this market was closed in 1869. The street takes its name from the Ward which is named after William de Farindone, a goldsmith and Sheriff of London in the year 1281. This name was, however, not applied to the street until the beginning of the 15th century.
FENCHURCH STREET (Gracechurch Street – Aldgate). – This neighbourhood was originally part of the old market system (see Cornhill). It was the hay market in the old City. The Angle French word Fein still survives in the word feneron (a haymaker). Fen was a common medieval name for hay. This market gave later on the name to the parish church mentioned already about the year 1170, and the church later on given the name to the street, which in 1337 is mentioned as Fanchurche Street. This explananon may, however, be more ingenious than probable. The Fanchurch stood, like the Strand Churches now, in the middle of the street between Mincing Lane and Rood Lane, almost opposite Cullum Street. It was only a small church burnt down in the Fire of 1666 and not rebuilt:
FEN COURT (Fenchurch Street – Fenchurch Avenue). – (See Cullum Street.)
FETTER LANE (Fleet Street – Holborn). – Origin – ally Fay tor or Faiter Lane, later Fewterers Lane, named after its "faitours" or begging impostors and idlers. (This term is used by Chaucer for a lazy fellow.) The present spelling dates back to 1555. One author has suggested that the name may be derived from the fetters or lance rests worn on the front of the cuirasse. Fetter Lane was the headquarters of the armourers attending to the Templars.
FIG TREE COURT (in Inner Temple). – So called from the fig trees which once thrived there. The presence of fig trees in the City was not limited to this court. They also grew near Bridewell
FINCH LANE (Cornhill – Threadneedle Street). – First mentioned in 1274 – as Fynghis, Fynkes or Finkes Lane, and the parish is mentioned as St. Benedict Fyngh. Early in the 13th century a family Fincke lived in this parish, and its descendants remained there for some considerable time, and one Robert Finck or Finch had his mansion standing in this lane. He rebuilt the parish church, which was given the name of St. Benet Fink. This church was later on demolished.
FINSBURY CIRCUS (between Bloomfield Street and Finsbury Pavement bordering upon the City Boundary). – Built in 1789-91 by Mr. George Dance, Jr. (See Finsbury Pavement.) The present garden is part of the old Bethlem Hospital garden, and is next to Temple Gardens, the largest open space in the City. The houses round Finsbury Circus were built in 1815. For origin see the following name.
FINSBURY PAVEMENT (Moorgate Street – City Road). – The north end lies outside the City boundary. Fin's bury means Fin's mansion, and Mr. Loftie wonders if the Fin who gave the name to this neighbourhood was a Dane or of Danish origin. Finn was, in fact, a mythical ancestor of Woden, intermediate between him and Adam. According to Sir Walter Besant, Finsbury was a gift to the citizens of London before the Conquest, presented by two sisters, Mary and Catherine Fenes, from which the name is said to be derived. One early form was Vynes Bury. The name appears in an old ballad, telling of an
Old Sir John Fines he had the name
Being buried in that place
Now, since then, called Finsbury,
To his renown and grace."
Finsbury Pavement was planned in 1777 by Mr. George Dance, Jr., and became a fashionable promenade of Moorfield inhabitants, being the only solid footway in that marshy district.
FISHMONGER ALLEY (on the west side of the site where Ironmongers' Hall stood in Fenchurch Street). – In the 16th century called Culver Alley. (See Cullum Street.)
FISH STREET HILL (from Lower Thames Street, and continued northwards by Gracechurch Street). – Earlier named New Fish Street. The street is very ancient, and before being reduced to give way for King William Street was the main approach to the old London Bridge. During the 13th and 14th centuries it was called Bridge Street (Bruggestrete), and the present name only appeared during the 16th century. It was then the authorised centre for the sale of fish, and near by stood the old Hall of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers on the site where their present Hall is situated. Then, as now, this Company carried on the supervision of the sale of fish at Billingsgate market.
FLEET LANE (Old Bailey – Farringdon Street). – The vicinity to the old Fleet River explains the name. To the north of this lane stood once the Fleet Prison which may also have been responsible for the name of the lane.
FLEET STREET (Ludgate Circus – Strand). – Just outside the old Lud Gate Rowed the Fleet stream, or ditch as it was later to be named. Fleet Street is, however, not named after the stream, but after Fleet Bridge which connected the street with Ludgate Hill. In earlier times (1228) the street was known as Fleet Bridge Street. The name was changed into the present one in the 13th century. Part of Fleet Street was in existence already in the beginning of the 12th century. The old Fleet Brook still exists and flows under Farringdon Street and New Bridge Street, emptying into the Thames under Blackfriars Bridge.
FLEUR DE LIS COURT (off Fetter Lane, Blackfriars). – Called by Ogilby Flower-de-Luce Court. Here stood the Priory Church of the Dominicans, and during excavations in 1920 evidence was obtained that the Lady Chapel had been built here subsequently to the church. It is both singular and appropriate that this Court should have received the name of Fleur de Lis (the badge of Our Lady). The name is old, inasmuch as it is known that the Friars' Preachers had been possessed of a tenement and wharf called the "Flower de Lewse" in this parish. According to one source the name is derived from the shop sign of the Fleur-de-Lis taken from the French arms. "Flower de Luce" used to be a sign, among others, of stationers' shops in Tudor time according to Sir Walter Besant.
FORE STREET (Finsbury Pavement – Redcross Street). – So named because it was in front of or before the City Wall. Stukeley suggests this was near the Roman Forum, but in view of the discoveries made in February, 1926, at the north corner where Gracechurch Street cuts across Lombard Street this theory seems rather fanciful.
FOSTER LANE (Cheapside – Gresham Street). – In 1271 called Seint Uastes Lane. By Stow spelled Fausters' Lane. A corruption of Vedast Lane, the Church of St. Vedast being situated here.
FOUNDER'S COURT (off Lothbury). – The Livery Hall of the Founders' Company stood here from 1532 to 1854, from which the Court took its name.
FOUNTAIN COURT (branching out west of Middle Temple Lane). – In this refreshing and quiet oasis stood in olden times a fountain and a fountain is still be seen there, throwing its cascades into the basin, Just as Dickens has described it.
FRDERICKS PLACE (off Old Jewry). – In 1677 this site was occupied by a Mansion built by Sir John Fredenck who served Lord Mayor in 1662. His house was subsequently used as Excise Office until the new building was erected in Broad Street (1768). The street was made in 1768 and named after the Frederick family.
FRENCH HORN YARD (off south side of Crutched Friars). – In a map of 1750 an alley called River Street ran along or near this place. Former names Burnt Yard and Three Colt Yard.
FRESH WHARF (to the east of London Bridge Wharf and with an entrance from Lower Thames Street near Billingsgate Market). – In days gone by this wharf was the headquarters of the little fresh fruit schooners which used to provide London with its oranges from the Azores. In the 12th century a Frosse Wharf is mentioned here and Stow calls it Frosh Wharf which may be a corruption of the former name. Stow says the wharf was so named from an owner of that name.
FRIARS ALLEY (Greenwich Lane – Upper Thames Street). – By Stow referred to as Frier Lane "of such a sign there set up." In olden times the Joiners' Hall stood here, the name still surviving in a block of houses close by called Joiners' Hall Buildings.
FRIDAY STREET (Cheapside – Queen Victoria Street). – The centre in earlier days of the fish – mongers, and was named Friday Street as Friday was of old the fish day, and also fish market day. The name can be traced as far back as 1277. At the south end was Old Fish Street, which was abolished when Queen Victoria Street was planned.
FURNIVAL STREET (from the western end of Holborn runs southwards to Cursitor Street). – Between Brooke House (See Brook Street) and Leather Lane stood Furnival Inn (on the site where the Prudential Assurance Company's palatial building now stands). The name dates from the 14th century, when the property came into the possession of Sir William de Fournyval. It was later occupied by law students, and in 1547-8 the freehold was purchased by the Society of Lincoln's Inn from the Earl of Shrewsbury and Baron Furnival. The street now perpetuates the name of the old Inn.
FYE FOOT LANE (between Queen Victoria Street and Upper Thames Street). – In Stow's time known as Finimore Lane or Five Foot Lane, because it was only five feet wide at the west end. The origin of the earlier name not known.
GALLEY DOCK (at the extreme eastern end of the City close by Tower Stairs). – In 1500 Galley Quay and later (1750) Gally Key. It derives its name from the time when the Venetian and Genoese galleys discharged their cargoes of wines and other merchandise at this landing stage. These merchants had a certain silver coin which they used amongst themselves known as a Galley Halfpence or Halfpence of Genoa, but these coins were forbidden to be used in London in the 14th century by Henry IV.
GARDENERS LANE (a narrow lane leading from High Timber Street (Upper Thames Street) down to Brooks Wharf). – An earlier name was Dung-hill Lane, now converted into the more pleasant sounding name.
GARLICK HILL (off north side of Upper Thames Street, leading through Bow Lane into Queen Victoria Street). – In earlier times garlick was usually sold here. The neighbourhood is still known as Garlick Hithe, i.e., Garlick Quay. The street sign is still marked: Garlick Hill, late Bow Lane."
GEORGE LANE (Pudding Lane – Botolph Lane). – Named after St. George's Church.
GEORGE YARD (south out of Fenchurch Street; eastern end). – Earlier name – Coach Yard – indicates that a George Inn may have been situated here.
GILTSPUR STREET (Old Bailey – West Smith – field). – Was in olden times a continuation of Knightrider Street: in Aggas Map (1560) called Giltsword Street. It is conjectured that the name is derived from the golden spurs worn by the Knights at the Smithfield Tournaments.
GLASSHOUSE YARD (off Aldersgate Street). – Marks an old centre for Venice glass manufacture. Venetians were employed in this work.
GODLIMAN STREET, PAUL'S CHAIN (St. Paul's Churchyard – Queen Victoria Street). – Dates back from the latter part of the 17th century. The earlier name Paul's Chain is still utilised for the northern end of the street. This section was near the South Chain of St. Paul's Churchyard, from which the name was derived. The chain probably marked the Churchyard boundary. A tavern was also in existence here in 1501, called "Poulls Chayne." In 1746 the street was called Godalming Street, of which the present name is a corruption.
GOLDEN LANE (continues Redcross Street near Cripplegate). – Earlier Golding Lane. Here stood the Fortune Theatre, one of the earliest places for theatrical performances in London.
GOLDSMITHS STREET (Gutter Lane – Wood Street, Cheapside). – This name dates back to 1220. In this street the goldsmiths plied their trade, and the Livery Hall of the Goldsmiths' Company still stands in Foster Lane near by.
GOODMAN'S YARD (leading from south – east end of Minories, and crossing the City boundary). – In early times the fields round here were owned by one Goodman. Horses were here grazed. These fields were later on called Goodman's Fields.
GOUGH SQUARE (to the west of Wine Office Court, Fleet Street). – The entrance is from Bolt Court, Fleet Street. Origin of name unknown. Dr. Johnson lived here at No. 17, from 1748 to 1758. The house is now preserved as a Museum.
GRACECHURCH STREET (Eastcheap – Bishopsgate). – Mentioned in 1349 as Grascherche Strete, but the name of the Church is found before the Conquest, or in 1053, as Gerschereche, which name is derived from the old English Gras = grass, and chereche = church. Thus the Church gave the name to the street. The same word is to be found in Swedish, viz., gras. The neighbourhood of Gracechurch formed part of the old market system, which is further explained under Cornhill. A grass or hay market was held here. Several variations appear in the 16th and 17th centuries, such as Graycyouse, Gratious, and Gracious Street.
GRAYSTOKE PLACE (off west side of Fetter Lane). – This queer little place was formerly called Black Raven Passage. This court is marked on Rocque's map of 1746, but must be much older.
GREAT ST. HELENS (a labyrinth of alleys connecting St. Mary Axe with Bishopsgate). – In old maps the place round St. Helen's Church is marked as Little St. Helens. This was the name given collectively to this site by the Leathersellers' "Crafte" or Company when they, in 1542, purchased the estate of the old Priory of the Black Nuns of St. Helens. Little St. Helens ceased to exist in 1799, when the Leathersellers' Company cleared the entire site for their new Hall, which ma y still be seen at this place, and at the same time St. Helen's Place came into being with fine residential houses, now converted into offices. In later maps the name changed into Great St. Helens. Helena was the mother of Constantina the Great, who claimed to have discovered the true Cross and Sepulchre and built a church on the spot. (See also under St. Helen's Place.)
GREAT TOWER STREET (Eastcheap – Tower Hill). – This street was previously only called Tower Street, deriving its name from the Tower of London.
GREAT TRINITY LANE (south of Queen Victoria Street to Queen Street). – (See Little Trinity Lane.)
GREAT WINCHESTER STREET (leads out from the western side of Old Broad Street in a right angle into London Wall). – The Priory of the Austin Friars (see further under that name) stood in this neighbourhood. Henry VIII. bestowed this Priory on William Paulet, afterwards Marquis of Winchester, who built here a town house in the reign of Edward VI. The Winchester name is preserved in Great and Little Winchester Streets.
GREENWICH STREET (Brick Hill Lane – Brewers Lane). – Near Dowgate Dock, and running parallel with the River. Stow says: "Of old time so called." Can it be because near by was once the landing stage for boats from Greenwich?
GRESHAM STREET (St. Martins le Grand – Moorgate Street). – Built in 1845 and named after Sir Thomas Gresham, founder of the first Royal Exchange and of Gresham College. Earlier names were Catte Street, Cateaton Street, Cattle Street, or Ketton Street; when changed into its present name it also swallowed up Lad Lane and part of Maiden Lane. Gresham College, which was originally established here, has since 1843 been housed in a building standing at the corner of Gresham Street and Basinghall Street. During his lifetime of sixty years Sir Thomas Gresham influenced the business life of the City to a greater extent than any other citizen before or after, and his name is undoubtedly one of the most important in the annals of the City.
GROCER'S HALL COURT (off north side of Poultry). – Earlier Grocers' Alley. This alley leads to the back of Grocers' Hall, the front entrance being in Princes Street. This little cul-de-sac takes its name from the Hall. Formerly called Coney Hope Lane, so named from a sign of three conies hanging over a poulterer's stall at the Cheapside end of the lane.
GUILDHALL YARD (leading from King Street into Guildhall). – The City Corporation has had a Hall of the Guilds near the site of the present Guildhall since the 12th century.
GUNPOWDER ALLEY (off west side of Shoe Lane). – Origin not known. There also used to be a Gunpowder Alley in Crutched Friars. Maybe stores of gunpowder used to be kept in these places.
GUTTER LANE (Cheapside – Gresham Street). – In 1185 this name appears as Goudron Lane, and later as Gutheran, Goudren, a family name of probably Danish or Saxon origin. Early in the 15th century the form Goter appears, later on to become the less pleasant one of Gutter Lane.
HANGING SWORD ALLEY (joins Whitefriars Street). – Name probably derived from the sign of a house which is mentioned in 1564 as the "Hanging Sword." The precincts of Whitefriars appears to have been noted as the abode of fencing masters and the name may be a reminder of the schools of defence established here. This alley was once known as the Blood Bowl Alley, also after a notorious house known by this title. One time this passage was known as Ouldwood Alley which may have been a corruption of Blood Bowl Alley.
HALF MOON PLACE (off west side of Aldersgate). – Named after a tavern which stood here until 1881.
HARE COURT (between Inner and Middle Temple Lanes). – The name given after Nicholas Hare, Master of Rolls to Queen Mary. He had a house standing here. He died in 1557.
HARE PLACE (between Nos. 46 and 47, Fleet Street). – Earlier called RAM ALLEY. In 1540 there was a "Ram Tavern" here, with "The Starre and the Ramme" as a sign, which gave the name to this Court. The Ram Alley was the scene of a comedy of that name, written by Lodowick Barry and dramatized in the reign of James I. One of the roystering characters of the play says:
"And though Ram Alley stinks with cooks' shops vile;
Yet, stay, there's many a worthy lawyer's chamber
'Buts upon Ram Alley."
HARP COURT (off east side of Milton Street). – An earlier name was Clun's Alley which in the time of Strype was corrupted into Lunds Alley. (See also Harp Lane.)
HARP LANE (Lower Thames Street – Great Tower Street). – Stow records this lane as "Hart Lane for Harp Lane." In his time this narrow lane was evidently called Hart Lane, although it was known that the old name was Harp Lane. Here stands Bakers' Hall, which was originally the dwelling house of John Chichley, Chamberlain of London. The Hall was rebuilt after the Great Fire, and renovated in 1825. Le Harpe was not an unusual name in older times for tenements.
HART STREET (Mark Lane – Crutched Friars). – Of great antiquity. Before the Monastery of "Crouched" Friars was founded here this street existed, and was called Hertstrete. There is a tradition that Hart stands for Heart but the earlier name Herth suggests the Anglo-Saxon Heorth, a hearth. In this street stands St, Olave's Church, dedicated to the Norwegian Saint Olave, The Norwegian flag is still hoisted on this church on St. Olave's day. Samuel Pepys and his wife are buried here.
HENEAGE LANE (leads out of Bevis Marks and runs parallel with Bury Street). – Named after the Heneage family. (See Bevis Marks).
HIGH TIMBER STREET (running east of Broken Wharf and parallel with Upper Thames Street). – Originally called Timber Hithe – i.e., a quay for timber cargoes; later on corrupted into High Timber Street.
HOLBORN (Holborn Circus – High Holborn). – called Holeburnestrate ca. 1180. Originally named Hole Bourne, a brook which formed the upper part of Fleet River, and ran in deep hollows; hence this name. Similar names are Hollingbourne in Kent, Holbeach, Holbrook and others. This form is still common in Scotland as the name of a stream "burn." The name is not derived, as often stated, from the "Old Bourne."
HOLBORN CIRCUS. – The connecting link between Holborn and Holborn Viaduct, and the junction of these streets together with Charterhouse Street.
HOLBORN VIADUCT. – The City end of the broad thoroughfare known as Holborn is part of the improvement by which Holborn Valley was made a straight fareway.
HONEY LANE (off the north side of Cheapside, leading to Honey Lane Market). – In the beginning of the 13th century spelt Huni Lane. Soon after the Great Fire in 1666 a market was established here. The market was the smallest one in the City, being only 193 feet in length, and was closed in 1835, when the City of London School was built upon this site.
HOSIER LANE (King Street – West Smithfielcl). – As far back as 1300 the hosiers lived in this street but removed later on to Cordwainer Street (Stow). (See also Bow Lane.)
HOSIER LANE (in Cheapside). – (See Bow Lane.)
HOUNDSDITCH (Bishopsgate – Aldgate). – Was originally a moat or ditch outside the old City Wall where rubbish was deposited and also where dead dogs used to be buried, hence the name. It has been suggested that the kennels for the hounds used in the City Hunts stood here. Shop-keepers in this street have from time to time petitioned the authorities to change the name, which they do not consider very attractive, but in vain. This is the centre of the Jews' quarter.
HUGGIN LANE (between Wood Street and Gutter Lane, behind Goldsmiths' Hall). – One Hugan, called Hugan in the Lane, once lived here, according to Stow. Huggin Lane was found by Mr. Riley to have existed as far back as 1281 under the name of Hoggenlane
IDOL LANE (Eastcheap – Lower Thames Street). – In a map of 1750 called Idle Lane. From this it might be surmised that this place was a meeting – place of idlers, or it might have been a quiet or idle street. The present name occurs in 1792. I have also another explanation to offer. Idle is an Anglo-French form of the old French Isle, an island. Idol Lane forms an island with St. Dunstan's Hill, and I venture to suggest that the place where St. Dunstan's Church is now situated once was an "island" (or idle) site, which gave the old name to this lane. In earlier times the street was called Church Lane after St. Dunstan's Church, and it may also be that the lane was named from an idol in that Church. Hatton says the lane was called Idol Lane from makers of idols or images living here, but there are no proofs hereof.
INGRAM COURT (off Fenchurch Street, near Gracechurcb Street end). – Named after Sir Arthur Ingram who had a house here. (See further under Cullum Street.)
INNER TEMPLE LANE (leads from Fleet Street to Temple Church). – By Horwood, in 1799, called Little Temple Lane. The Temple indicates the precinct of the Order of the Knights Templars, who built here in 1184 a vast monastery. This district is now divided into three separate quarters from west to east, namely, The Inner, Middle, and Outer Temple. Here the Inns of Chancery and the Inns of Court, the headquarters of the legal profession, are situated
IRELAND YARD (on the west side of St. Andrew's Hill, at the west end of Queen Victoria Street.) – Named after one William Ireland, a haberdasher, who occupied a house here, afterwards bought by Shakespeare in 1612.
IRONMONGER LANE (Cheapside – Gresham Street). – In the reign of Edward I. dealers in ironmongery resorted here, hence the name of the lane. In documents from that period the name appears as Ismongere Lane (from the O.E. iren or isern = iron), and this form was retained until 1382 or later. The Ironmongers' House, the original Hall of the Ironmongers' Company, was established here in the 15th century, but was purchased by the Mercers Company in 1517 for the extension of their own Hall
IVY LANE (Paternoster Row – Newgate Street). – This lane was called Folkemaris Lane since the 13th century, or earlier. Probably from the personal old English name of Folkemar. The present name is, according to Stow, derived from the ivy which grew on the walls of the prebendal houses belonging to St. Paul's. They were destroyed in the Great Fire. Old spelling Ivie Lane
JASPER STREET (see Aldermanbury).
JEWIN STREET ( Aldersgate – Redcross Street). – Was once a piece of waste ground outside the Wall, where rubbish was deposited, and stated to have been given to the Jews as a burial ground. If this is true, it must have been given them before they were expelled by Edward I. in 1290. The place is mentioned in 1426 as Jewengardyn, when it was left by Hugh Wetherby to found a chantry at the altar of St. Dunstan in the Church of St. John Zachary, a church built by a priest named Zachary in the 12th century.
JEWRY STREET (Crutched Friars – Aldgate). – Became a cemetery for the Jews after their return in the 17th century. Earlier spelling appears as Jury Street, previously known as Poor Jury, being a quarter for poor Jews. A bit of the old Roman Wall can be seen in the basement of Roman Wall House. (See also Old Jewry.)
JOHN CARPENTER STREET (Tudor Street – Victoria Embankment). – Here stands the City of London School for which was utilized a bequest of John Carpenter, who was Town Clerk of London from 1417 to 1438 and Rector of St. Mary Magdalen. The street was thus named by the City Corporation when the old Whitefriars site was built over.
JOHNSON'S COURT (a cul-de-sac off Fleet Street). – This court does not, as may be surmised, take its name from the great doctor who once lived there. The Johnson family after which it may have been named resided here already in Elizabeth's time. The great Doctor Johnson however lived here from 1765 to 1776 at No. 7.
JOHN STREET (Crutched Friars – Minories). – This place was earlier called Horsehoe Alley but was swallowed up when John Street was made, according to an Act of Parliament in 1760 "for the opening of streets to be made in the City of London." The street is not marked in a map of 1771 but appears in a map of 1792. There is a John Street in the Borough named after the owner of a Manor house at that place and the Minories John Street may have been named likewise. In 1826 there were in London not less than 53 John Streets and in the year 1870 the number had increased to 119. It was evidently a popular street name.
KING EDWARD STREET (Newgate Street – Little Britain). – Mentioned in 1275 in connection with the Grey Friars Monastery as Stigandes Lane, corrupted into Stinking Lane in Elizabeth's time. Subsequent names were Chick Lane and Blow-Bladder Street. Later it was called Butchers' Hall Lane, as the Worshipful Company of Butchers had their Hall here. In 1844 the street appears as King Edward Street: late Butchers' Hall Lane. This street divided the General Post Office Complex, the foundation stone of which was laid by King Edward VII. on October 16th, 1905, but, as mentioned above, the street name dates further back, and was given in compliment to Edward VI., who founded the nearby Christ's Hospital.
KING'S HEAD COURT (Fish Street Hill – Pudding Lane). – Marks the site of a celebrated tavern, King's Head.
KING STREET (Guildhall – Cheapside). – Made after the Great Fire in 1666 and named after Charles II.
KING STREET (Snow Hill – Long Lane). – In 1416 mentioned as Cow Lane, but from the beginning of the 19th century the present name has been in force.
KING WILLIAM STREET (Bank – London Bridge). – Built about 1829 and opened during King William IV's reign, when the old General Post Office in Post Office Court (Lombard Street) was demolished to give a portion of its site to the new street leading to the London Bridge from the Mansion House. At the junction with Gracechurch Street stands a statue of King William, after which this street takes its name. (See also London Bridge.)
KNIGHTRIDER COURT (Knightrider Street – Carter Lane). – (See Knightrider Street.)
KNIGHTRIDER STREET (Queen Victoria Street – Addle Hill). – This name can be traced back to 1322 as Knyghtriderstrete. The original name Knightrider is obscure. Stow's supposition that along this street rode in olden times the Knights to the tournaments at Smithfield is not credited. (See also Giltspur Street.)
LA BELLE SAUVAGE YARD (entered through a passage on the west side off Ludgate Hill, Ludgate Circus end). – Here stood for several hundred years the most famous coaching inn of the City of London, La Belle Sauvage. Many guesses have been made as to the origin of this pretty name. There are proofs that in 1453 an inn called "Savage Inn or the Bell" was here established. The sign was a savage standing by a bell. The first alternative may have originated from the name of the landlord, as a man named William Savage lived in this neighbourhood in 1380. From being used alternatively the two names were later on linked together as The Bell Savage and the present spelling appears in 1676. Other derivations are current, but the above is undoubtedly the correct one.
LAMBETH HILL (an angle-shaped lane off the north side of Upper Thames Street, giving access to Queen Victoria Street). – Presumably named after a property owner in the 13th and 14th centuries Lamberd or Lombarde. The street was originally called by these names. OLD FISH STREET HILL ran from Knightrider Street along the eastern wall of St. Nicholas Cole Abbey across Queen Victoria Street and down to Upper Thames Street through what is now the eastern part of Lambeth Hill.
LABOUR-IN-VAIN COURT was a court out of the north side of Lambeth Hill and this court is now the new opening to Queen Victoria Street
LAURENCE POUNTNEY HILL and
LAWRENCE LANE (runs parallel with King Street). – Named after the Church of St. Lawrence Jewry, facing Guildhall Yard. Was in olden days the principal approach to the old Guildhall in Aldermanbury
LEADENHALL STREET (Cornhill – Aldgate). – Leadenhall formed part of an old system of markets. (See under Cornhill.) Formerly Cornhill extended to St Mary Axe, but the portion from Gracechurch Street was re-named Leadenhall Street early in the 17th century. Adjoining Cornhill existed a market for metal, lead, and brass; and these articles were worked and sold in Leaden Hall.
LEATHER LANE (runs into Holborn from Clerkenwell Road, and only its southern part falls within the City proper). – The name appears as early as 1234 in the form of "Le Vrune Lane". Later spellings are:
15th & 16th Centuries
Dr. Henry Bradley, Editor of the "New English Dictionary," suggests that the old French leveroun, a greyhound, is indicated. Greyhound Lane is an established name which has in some instances denoted the existence of an inn of that name. Others assume that the name is derived from leather-sellers having foregathered here, but the early spellings of the place do not bear out this proposition. Leather Lane was apparently once upon a time a place for second-class lodgings. In William Barnes Rhode's burlesque Bombastes Furioso (produced at the Haymarket Theatre in 1810), the following introduction is given to a song:
My lodging is in Leather Lane,
A Parlour that's next to the sky;
'Tis exposed to the wind and the rain
But the wind and the rain I defy.
In the middle of the 19th century this lane was the residence of Italians who made barometers. Negretti and Zambra are still established in this neighbourhood
LIME STREET (a winding lane leading from Fenchurch Street to Leadenhall Street). – Already in the 12th century called Limestrate. Stow thought the name was derived from the making or selling of lime here, and this is borne out by the mentioning in an early document of one Ailnoth, the lime-burner who lived in this street.
LITTLE BRITAIN (a curiously winding street connecting Smithfield with St. Martins-le-Grand). – Once the residence of the Dukes of Bretagne or Brittany stood here; previously called Britaine or Bretagne Street.
LITTLE COLLEGE STREET, earlier Little Elbow Lane. (See College Street.)
LITTLE ST. HELENS. (See Great St. Helens.)
LITTLE TRINITY LANE (runs parallel with Garlick Hill). – Derives its name from the Church of the Holy Trinity, which was destroyed in the Great Fire.
LITTLE WINCHESTER STREET (connecting Great Winchester Street and London Wall). – (See Great Winchester Street.)
LIVERPOOL STREET (Bloomfield Street – Bishopsgate). – Originally called Old Bethlem a short street running from Bishopsgate to Bloomfield. Here stood the old famous lunatic hospital called Bethlem until 1675, and the street was known as Old Bethlehem or Bethlam until 1829, when it was widened and named Liverpool Street, after Lord Liverpool, the Prime Minister, who had died the year before. The Hospital was founded in 1247 and in 1814 removed to Southwark and in 1924 its removal to Croydon was contemplated.
LLOYD'S AVENUE (Fenchurch Street – Crutched Friars). – This is one of the newer of City streets only. being opened in 1899. Named after the palatial headquarters of Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping at the corner of Fenchurch Street.
LOMBARD COURT (Gracechurch Street – Clements Lane). – Earlier known as Naggs Head Court. In the 16th century this site seems to have been occupied by a large house called Lumberd's House. The proprietor was Sir Wm. Chester, Lord Mayor in 1560. This house may originally have been a meeting place of the Lombard merchants in London. (See also Lombard Street.)
LOMBARD STREET (Bank – Gracechurch Street). – The earliest form in the beginning of the 12th century is Longbord or Langeberd (long beard), by which name the Lombards were known in medieval times, and the Lombard traders already then made this street their centre. This street and neighbourhood became the gathering place of money-lenders and goldsmiths, who settled here in very large numbers in the reign of Edward II. (1307-1327). These were mostly Long-bards, merchants of Genoa, Lucca, Florence and Venice, and they used as their emblem three golden balls, derived from the lower part of the arms of the Dukes of Media, and this emblem still remains the sign of the money-lenders in London.
LONDON BRIDGE. – The name Lundenebricge is mentioned about the year 975, when a tragedy occurred there. In Roman times a wooden bridge was in existence at the same place. The first stone bridge was begun in 1176, and completed by a Frenchman in 1209. Until 1769 London Bridge was the only archway over the Thames. The present structure was commenced in 1825, and opened by King William IV. and Queen Adelaide on August 1st, 1831.
LONDON STREET (Fenchurch Street – Railway Place). – In the 17th century this place seems to have been called Pickax Alley. In the 18th century the present name, also New London Street, appears. Harben states that the street is named from John London, Warden of the Ironmongers Co. in 1724.
LONDON HOUSE YARD (connects St. Paul's Churchyard with Paternoster Row). – Commemorates the Bishop of London's town house which stood here as early as 1260. The house suffered much during the Commonwealth, and was pulled down soon after the Restoration. The Bishop's Palace stood in Stepney.
LONDON WALL (from, the north end at Old Broad Street – Wood Street) – Marks part of the site of the old Roman or City Wall, which began at the Tower and followed the present Minories, Houndsditch, London Wall to Newgate, and along Old Bailey to Ludgate and the Thames. The chief gates were Aldgate, Bishopsgate, Aldersgate, Cripplegate, Newgate, and Ludgate. A fragment of the Wall is preserved in the Churchyard of All-hallows-on-the-Wall, London Wall, and there are other remains elsewhere
LONG LANE (West Smithfield – Barbican). – This lane formed one of the boundaries of Great St. Bartholomew's Close. According to Strype the name was given to the lane for its length.
LOTHBURY (runs along the north side of the Bank of England). – Earlier Lothberie, Lathberie, and Loadberie. As to the origin of the name the historians differ. Some contend that Loth-bury, like Lud-gate, may be derived from the name Lode, which in some parts of England still means a cut or drain leading into a larger stream. This seems feasible, as Lothbury is built over the old Wall Brook, and Ludgate is built over the Fleet River. Mr. Loftie is, however, of opinion that Lothbury was the Manor or Bury (from burh = a fortified house) of Albertus Loteringus, a Canon of St. Paul's, and a well-known figure at the time of the Norman Conquest. It is also said that the name may be a corruption of Lattenbury, the place where founders cast candlesticks or other copper or laton work. Founders Hall (Founders Court) stood here already in 1532, which gives colour to the last conception.
LOVE LANE (between Wood Street and Aldermanbury). – According to Stow, so named after the girls ("wantons") who once haunted it.
LOVE LANE (Eastcheap – Monument Street). Once called Ropere Lane or Rope Lane, as the ropemakers had their business quarters here in the end of the 13th century. Later on called Lucas Lane, after the owner of part thereof, and thence corrupted into Love Lane.
LOVELL'S COURT (in Paternoster Row near Ivy Lane). – The mansion of Francis, Viscount Lovewell, the unpopular minister of Richard III., stood in Ivy Lane, and was granted by Henry VII., in 1488, to Sir John Risley. Pulled down before 1598, but the name survives in Lovell's Court.
LOWER THAMES STREET (King William Street – Tower Hill). – This end of the Old Thames Street was originally called Petty Wales. Stow says a stone building stood here, which sometimes was appointed as a lodging for the Prince of Wales. (See also Upper Thames Street.)
LUDGATE CIRCUS (connecting Ludgate Hill with Fleet Street). – Named after Ludgate, one of the principal gates into the City first mentioned 1100-35 as Lutgata. Similar names are Lydgate or Lidgate. It is suggested that a lid gate was a gate which opened with a lid or flap instead of upright door posts. As Ludgate right down to the 12th century was only a postern gate, this conception is not unlikely. Bosworth confirms this theory by giving the form "ludgeat" or a postern gate. But Gomme associates the name with a Celtic God Lud, and he is supported by Prof. Rhys. Another theory is that the gate was named from a person Lude, Luda or Ludda. Maitland derives the name from its situation near the Fleet – i.e., Floodgate, or Porta Fluentana of London. There are thus many guesses. The well-known story of King Lud was deliberately invented by Geoffrey of Monmouth.
LUDGATE HILL (connects Ludgate Circus with St. Paul's Churchyard). – Was constructed 1864-5. Ludgate Hill was formerly called Bowyer's Row, and later Ludgate Street. (See Ludgate Circus.)
LUDGATE SQUARE (west out of Creed Lane to Ludgate Hill). – This square has only been known under the present title since 1894. It was originally termed Holiday Court and is mentioned by that name in records dealing with conditions after the Fire. In 1894 the name was changed into the present one from the nearness to Ludgate Hill.
MAIDENHEAD COURT (Off Aldersgate Street). – Earlier called Lamb Alley. The crest of the Worshipful Company of Mercers is a maiden head, and on the many buildings in the City, belonging to this wealthy Livery Company their crest is affixed. It might be that the Company has had property here, and that the name of the court thus originated.
MANSELL STREET (south out of Aldgate High Street). – Only the northern part of this street lies within the City proper. Built towards the end of the 17th century. Earlier names Mansel and Mansfield Street. Named after an owner of property
MANSION HOUSE PLACE (along the eastern side of Mansion House). – Its situation explains the name.
MANSION HOUSE STREET (in front of Mansion House). – Probably the shortest street in London. Named after the Mansion House, which was completed in 1753.
MARK LANE (Fenchurch Street – Great Tower Street). – Dates back to the year 1285, when "a lane behind Blanche Appleton was granted to be enclosed." This lane was called Marte Lane from some discontinued market which was held near by called the Marthe. This district was in early times known as Blanche Appleton, after the name of the Manor, later corrupted into Blanche Chapelton and Blond Chapel, which name survived in Blind Chapel Court (1708) and Blanch Chaplin Court (1720), one of the most curious street name corruptions. Œppeltun is the O.E. term for an orchard. The word ceppel is the same as the Swedish apple. The name may simply have denoted a farm by (or with) an apple tree. The basket – makers were in Edward IV's time obliged to carry on their trade in the Manor of Blanche Appleton. This is proof of an early market place in this neighbourhood. The Mark Lane Post Office, since removed to Fenchurch Street, was erected on the site of this Court. Mr. A. Bonner, who has traced the name Marthe Lane in a deed from 1220, is of opinion that the name comes from the old English word marte, signifying an ox or cow fattened for slaughter, and he thinks that the Eastcheap butchers probably had shambles here. It is also known that in Aldgate near by, butchers carried on their trade, and the district was undoubtedly a centre for the meat trade from very early times. The origin of the name is apparently not definitely settled.
MARTINS LANE (running southwards from the east end of Cannon Street). – Here stood the church of St. Martins Orgar, dedicated to a French Saint, and the lane commemorates the name of the church, which is now demolished
MASONS AVENUE (Coleman Street – Basinghall Street). – Previously called Rose Court. Named after the City Guild of Masons. The Masons Hall stood here, and was in existence as early as 1410. This site was subsequently occupied by The Three Masons Tavern, an old-fashioned City restaurant, now known as "Ye Olde Butlers Head," established in 1616 by Dr. William Butler, Physician to James I.
MIDDLESEX STREET (Bishopsgate – Aldgate). – The street marks the present eastern boundary of the City. In the 19th century the boundary lay more to the west along Houndsditch. The street is named (in 1830) after the county in which the whole part of the City is situated. The origin of Middlesex (the county) has not been established, but Capgrove (Chronicles of England) states that Middlesex was "the centre of London," and London has, in fact, from olden times enjoyed special privileges throughout that county. In Strype's time Middlesex Street was called Hog Lane ("as hogs ran in the fields there"), at that time being lined with hedgerows and elm trees. In the 18th century – and probably earlier – Middlesex Street was called PETTICOAT LANE until 1830. This name is explained from the old clothes market which was held here. This market for second – hand clothes was transferred from ROSEMARY LANE. (See this name) where a Rag Fair had been held from very early times, and this old clothes market still survives in Middlesex Street, on Sunday mornings, chiefly attended by Jewish people.
MIDDLE TEMPLE LANE (leading from Fleet Street to Victoria Embankment). – (See Inner Temple Lane.)
MILTON STREET (Fore Street – Chiswell Street) – Not named after the great Puritan poet John Milton, although he lived and died in Artillery Walk, Bunhill Fields, near by, but named in 1830 after a carpenter and builder who owned the building lease of the street. Until 1830 called Grub Street, earlier Grobe Strat, which street Doctor Johnson mentions in his Dictionary as a by-word for mean literary production, from the fact that writers of no standing used to live there. Grube, a ditch, or drain may have given the earlier name to this street.
MILE END ROAD (continuation of Whitechapel Road). – End of the first mile as measured from the centre of the old City. Lies outside the City boundary.
MILES LANE (from No. 130, Upper Thames Street – Arthur Street, parallel with King William Street). – In 1277 this lane was known as the Lane of St. Michael de Candelivicstrate (see Cannon Street), in 1303 it was called Seint Micheles Lane and in 1314 it became the Lane of St. Michael de Croked (see also Crooked Lane). In 1567 the spelling was St. Mighell's Lane. A map dated 1792 gives the lane as St. Michael's Lane, later on shortened to the present name. The street was named after St. Michael's Church.
MILK STREET (off Cheapside). – In the 12th century spelt Melcstrate. Milk was sold here.
MINCING LANE (Fenchurch Street – Great Tower Street). – The earliest form is found in 1273 as Menechine Lane, and the street takes its name from the nuns or "minchins" of St. Helens in Bishopsgate, which Order once owned all the houses here. Through the forms Myncen, Mynchen, Minchen, Mincheon, and Minchin, the present form appeared in 1677. Myncen is O.E. for nun. This street is now the head-quarters of colonial produce brokers, and the Commercial Sale Rooms are here situated.
MINORIES (Aldgate – Tower Hill). – The centre of the east side lies outside the City boundary. Named after the Minor Franciscan Order of St. Clair, founded in 1293. Nuns or "minoresses" had a house here, just outside the City Wall. Sorores minores means Little Sisters. In old days Minories was famous for its gunsmiths, as witness Congreve's lines:
"The mulcibers who in the Minories sweat
And massive bars on stubborn anvils beat."
MITRE COURT (off south side of Fleet Street). Derives its name from the residence of the Bishops of Ely, which once stood near here. Also commemorates the name of Mitre Tavern (1546), pulled down in 1829 to give room to Messrs. Hoare's Bank.
MITRE COURT (south out of Cheapside at No. 18). – The old Mitre Tavern, in existence before 1475, stood here but perished in the Fire.
MITRE COURT (between Milk Street and Wood Street, Cheapside). – In 1677 known as the Nunnery Court. Mitre Court was later on named from the inn called the "Mitre" in Wood Street, which inn is mentioned by Pepys.
MITRE STREET (to the east of Aldgate) and
MONKWELL STREET (runs from Silver Street northwards and is continued by a passage through Cripplegate Churchyard into Fore Street). – In the 12th century the name was Mukewellstrete and later Mogwell Street, which were personal names. Stow's explanation, that this street was so called after a well near the house of the Abbot of Garendon where certain monks dwelled, is hardly credible. A more probable explanation is that the earliest name is derived from the family name Muchewella mentioned in the early part of the 12th century. The present name is a corruption thereof.
MONTAGUE COURT (off Little Britain). – The whole of the east side of Little Britain was once occupied by a mansion belonging to Lord Montague. His name is preserved in the name of this little Court situated at the south end of Bartholomew Close.
MONUMENT STREET (from King William Street leading into Lower Thames Street). – Named after the Monument which stands at the western end between Fish Street Hill and Pudding Lane, where the Great Fire in 1666 began. Sir Christopher Wren's column commemorates this Fire which laid two-thirds of the City in ashes. The Monument, erected in 1671-77, is 202 feet high. Three hundred and forty-five steps of black marble lead to the top, from which a fine view is obtained of the City
MOORFIELDS (earlier Moor Lane) is a branch off the north side of Fore Street, and runs parallel with Finsbury Pavement. In old times this region was a marshland known as The Moor, where foot-races, football, archery and other recreation took place.
MOORGATE (Lothbury – Finsbury Pavement). – Moorgate was built by Thomas Falconer, a Mayor in 1415. It led out to the Moor or Fenland outside the Wall. The old Moor Gate was restored in 1472 and rebuilt in 1672, but finally taken down in 1762. This street was until recently called Moorgate Street.
MOOR LANE (Fore Street – northwards crossing the City boundary). – Mentioned as Moor Street in 1310. Built on the site of Moorfields or the old "Moor" outside the walls of the old City.
MUSCOVY COURT. – Was a small court off Trinity Square, but has now disappeared altogether with Catherine Court nearby to give room to the new headquarters of the Port of London Authority. When in 1698 Peter the Great came to London to complete his knowledge of ship-building at Deptford Yard, it is said he often dined at a tavern near the Tower, and a public-house known as "The Czar of Muscovy" existed in this neighbourhood for many years, and Muscovy Court was very likely named after this tavern. This neighbourhood had already in Elizabethan times a reputation as a headquarter for Russian or so-called Muscovy merchants. The first Russian Ambassador to the English Court lived here in 1569. (Compare Catherine Court.)
NEW BASINGHALL STREET (continuation northwards of Basinghall Street). – First mentioned early in the 19th century. (See Basinghall Street.)
NEW BRIDGE STREET (Blackfriars Bridge – Ludgate Circus). – Once the bed of the River Fleet. When it was erected it absorbed Chatham Square. Its giving access to the Blackfriars Bridge explains its name.
NEW BROAD STREET (a broad court connecting Blomfield Street and Old Broad Street). – Before January 1st, 1925, the northern continuation of Old Broad Street was also called New Broad Street but to avoid confusion this northern end (New Broad Street) of Old Broad Street was also given the same name. New Broad Street was founded out of a place called Petty France in 1730. (See Old Broad Street.)
NEW COURT (off the western side of St. Swithin's Lane). – This site was vacant in 1677, and is first mentioned in 1720. About the year 1865 Messrs. N. Rothschild and Son erected a fine palace here for their banking business. They have just obtained a new lease for 50 years from the City Corporation.
NEVILLE'S COURT (Fetter Lane – Great New Street). – This old-world by-way was partly demolished in 1914 – Named after Ralph Neville, Bishop of Chichester from 1222-24 – who had a London residence there.
NEWGATE STREET (St. Martin's Le Grand – Holborn Viaduct). – Originally called New Gate Market. A meat market was held here until 1869. Earlier names Bladder Street, probably from the butchers' stalls and shambles, and also Mount Goddard Street. As a derivation of the latter name Stow suggests "the tippling-houses where goddards or goblets were in frequent use!" The old version says that Newgate Street was named after the new City Gate erected in the reign of Henry I. The street from Cheapside to Ludgate was blocked when the old St. Paul's was being repaired, and a new gate was pierced through the City Wall where Old Bailey touches Newgate Street. Some authorities do not agree to this theory, as there was already a gate here in Roman times. As early as 1188 it was called New Gate, and in still earlier records Chamberlain's Gate. How the name Newgate originated is thus not definitely known.
NEW LONDON STREET (Hart Street – London Street). – Earlier names. Crossleys Square and Three Tun Court. From 1799 the present name. (See also London Street.)
NEW SQUARE (in Vine Street, Minories). – Formerly known as Pope's Yard. New Square was formed between 1732 and 1746. The name was obviously given to this Square when it was newly built and the name has been retained.
NICHOLAS LANE (Lombard Street – King William Street – Cannon Street). – Named after the Church of St. Nicolas Aeon, which stood on the west side of the lane. Destroyed in the Great Fire. It has also been said that Sir Nicholas Throgmorton gave his name to this lane but there appears to be no evidence hereof. (See also Throgmorton Street.)
NOBLE STREET (Gresham Street – Falcon Square). – May originally have been an extension of Foster Lane and re-named Noble Street after an owner or builder.
NORTHUMBERLAND ALLEY (runs parallel with Lloyd's Avenue). Derives its name from the first town residence of the Earls of Northumberland which stood here. The gardens belonging to this old house were later on converted into public bowling alleys. (See also Carlisle Avenue.)
OAT LANE (east out of Noble Street). – In 1666 referred to as Oate Lane, later on as Sheers Alley and Bull's Head Passage.
OLD BAILEY (Newgate Street – Ludgate Hill). – ca. 1241-8 referred to as In ballio. This place may have been the 'ballium' or 'vallum' of the Prætorian camp which would have occupied the eminence on which St. Paul's now stands. Stow, however, explains the place as a "chamberlain's court of old time there kept" and Maidand puts forward the name as a corruption of 'Bail-hill,' i.e., the place of trial for prisoners. Other authorities state that it was the ancient Bailey or Guard House between Lud Gate and New Gate. Formerly called Green Arbour Court.
OLD BROAD STREET (Threadneedle Street – Liverpool Street). – This is the main throughfare from the Bank, and by its continuation, formerly New Broad Street, to Liverpool Street. The "old" New Broad Street was in 1925 re-named Old Broad Street. The Old Broad Street was originally known as Broad Street, and in the reign of Charles I. one of the most fashionable residential quarters of the City. The northern part of Broad Street was formed about 1730 out of a region known as Petty France, so called on account of Frenchmen dwelling there. (See also New Broad Street.)
OLD 'CHANGE (Cheapside – Knightrider Street) – About 1275 known as Eldechaunge. In the 14th century the King's Exchange stood here, and gold and silver ware were offered for sale by the goldsmiths, and raw gold was sold to them. Here also half-pence and farthings were made at a building called the King's Exchange (Stow). Before the present name was adopted known as Exchange Street but when Sir Thomas Gresham built the Royal Exchange the old name was dropped and since then this street has been called Old 'Change. (See also Sermon Lane.)
OLD JEWRY (Poultry – Gresham Street). – Part of this street was in olden times called Jew Street. Here was originally the Ghetto of London, i.e., before the time the Jews were expelled by Edward I. (1290), William I. brought Jews over from Rouen, and they built a Synagogue here and lived in this part. In the 17th century the Jews settled in and around Aldgate. (See Jewry Street).
OLD SWAN LANE and
OXFORD COURT (reached through a passage called Salters Court, off 109, Cannon Street, opposite Cannon Street Station). – Here stood a mansion of the Priors of Tortington, Sussex, which subsequently was called Oxford House or Oxford Place, being the mansion of De Veres, Earls of Oxford, and afterwards purchased in 1641 by the Salters Company. This house was destroyed in the Great Fire, but the name survives in the name of this little court.
PANCRAS LANE (leading out of Queen Street into Queen Victoria Street). – Earlier called Needlers Lane, but afterwards named after the old church of St. Pancras in Soper Lane. The church is dedicated to St. Pancras of Rome. (See further under Queen Street.)
PANYER ALLEY (Newgate Street – Paternoster Row). – During the 13th and 14th centuries bread was usually sold in panyers or bread-baskets. This passage was no doubt a resort of these basket-makers, who sold their wares to the bakers in Bread Street near by. There existed about 1430 and for at least 50 years in Paternoster Row a Panyer Tavern.
PATERNOSTER ROW (runs parallel with St. Paul's Churchyard). – In 1312 known as Paternosterstrete, and in 1321 as Paternoster Lane. Finally, in 1349 called Paternostersrowe. In the 13th century makers of paternosters or prayer beads (rosaries) congregated here, probably to sell them to the worshippers at St. Paul's. Other street names in the neighbourhood, such as Amen Corner, Ave Maria Lane, bear out this explanation. This street became later on famous for mercers and haberdashers and has, since 1724, been frequented by publishers of religious and other books. (See also Amen Corner and Ave Maria Lane.)
"Paternoster Row, – aye, Paternoster Row –
Agreed – that's the quietest place that I know."
PATERNOSTER SQUARE (north of Paternoster Row). – The access to this "hidden away" square is from the north by Rose Street, from the west by White Hart Street, from the south by an archway from the northern side of Paternoster Row and from the east by Dukes Head Passage. The square is of some antiquity and has obtained its name from Paternoster Row.
PAUL'S ALLEY (St. Paul's Churchyard – Paternoster Row). – First mentioned in 1677. One of the accesses to St. Paul's explains the name.
PAUL'S ALLEY (Redcross Street – Australian Avenue). – Already mentioned in 1670. Origin unknown.
PAUL'S CHAIN (Godliman Street – St. Paul's Churchyard). – Until 1890 the northern part of Godliman Street was called Paul's Chain which name is already met with in 1444 as Poules-cheyne. A chain used to be drawn across the carriage-way of the Churchyard during the hours of the service and hence the name (See also Godliman Street).
PAUL'S WHARF (leading to Paul's Stairs, off Upper Thames Street). – This site was bequeathed in 1354 by Gilbert de Bruen, Dean of St. Paul's, to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's, and their successors, hence the name.
PEPYS STREET (connecting Savage Gardens with Seething Lane). – An empty street in 1924, inasmuch as no houses were as yet built on its northern side. The street follows the north side of Port of London Authority's new building. Muscovy Court (see this name) stood here before its demolition in 1919-20, to give room to the P.L.A. building. On the northern side of Muscovy Court stood the old Navy Office, with entrance from Crutched Friars (see this name). Samuel Pepys, the City diarist and Secretary of the Navy Office in the reign of King James II., lived in an adjoining house and this is no doubt the reason which prompted the City Fathers to call this little street after this remarkable man. And why should that illustrious City man of the time of the Great Fire and the Plague not be commemorated in the name of a street? Pepys is buried in St. Olave's Church, Hart Street (see that name), near by.
"There are people I'm told, some say there are heaps,
Who talk of the talkative Samuel as Peeps,
And some so precise and pedantic their step is,
Who call that delightful old diarist Pepys,
But those I think right, and I follow their steps,
Ever mention the garrulous gossip as Peps,"
PEAHEN COURT (west out of Bishopsgate at No 77). – Former name Sutton Court. Near by was Peahen Alley once referred to as Pehan Alley. Origin not known.
PETERBOROUGH COURT (next to Shoe Lane, off Fleet Street). – Named after the town residence of the Abbot of Peterborough which during the 16th century was situated on the west side of this Court.
PETTICOAT LANE (See Middlesex Street.)
PHILPOT LANE (Fenchurch Street – Eastcheap). – Sir John Philpot, a grocer and Alderman of Langbourne Ward became Lord Mayor in 1378. He and other London merchants lent £10,000 to Richard II. on security of the Crown jewels. This gallant Mayor also gathered together, as an Alderman in 1373, at his own expense a company of a thousand stout fellows and sallied forth with them, himself their admiral, to fight a piratical Scot named Mercer who had done great havoc among the English merchantmen. Philpot fell upon him in Scarborough Bay, slew him and most of his men, took all his ships and returned to London with his spoil. Later on, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the title of Admiral was conferred upon the Lord Mayor, and to this day the Lord Mayor enjoys the title of Admiral of the Port of London. As M. P. for the City he had a house and garden in this lane, by which his name is commemorated. He died in 1384, and was buried in the Choir of the Grey Friars Church.
PIE CORNER. – In the 16th century Pie Corner was the place at the northern end of Giltspur Street, but the name is now given to the east end of Cock Lane, which leads into Giltspur Street. The origin of the name may be the many cooks' stalls which catered for the people frequenting the old Bartholomew Fair at Smithfield. The Great Fire of 1666, which began in Pudding Lane, ended here.
PILGRIM STREET (runs parallel with Ludgate Hill on the south side and follows the line of the old London Wall). – Said to have been named from having been used by pilgrims coming by water to St. Paul's Cathedral and Blackfriars; but this is not probable, as the street in Strype's map of 1720 is called The Wall, from the fact that it marked the site of the old City Wall. More likely the street has been named after an owner of property here. This was once the quarter of feather-workers.
PINNERS COURT (a tiny court off west side of Old Broad Street). – Here stood Pinners Hall, originally forming a part of the Priory of the Austin Friars. (See further under that name.) Pinners Hall was once the Livery Hall of the Pinmakers' Company, which has now ceased to exist.
PLAYHOUSE YARD (off Water Lane, near Queen. Victoria Street where "Times" printing office is now situated). – Named after the Blackfriars Theatre which stood here from 1596 to 1655. It was the most select of all Elizabethan playhouses, and the first one erected in this neighbourhood. Demolished in 1655.
PLOUGH COURT (off east side of Fetter Lane). – Takes its name from the Plough Inn.
PLOUGH COURT (off south side of Lombard Street leading into Lombard Court). – Here the father of Alexander Pope carried on the business of a linen merchant and here the poet was born (1688). The name of the Court probably derived from an old inn.
POPE'S HEAD ALLEY (Lombard Street – Cornhill). – Here stood one of the most celebrated of Cornhill taverns, "Pope's Head," which was established about 1430 and existed as late as 1756, having been rebuilt after the Great Fire. "Le Popeshead" is mentioned as a dwelling – house in 1415. In 1503 known as Pope's Hedes Entre. The tavern was built round a courtyard which is now Pope's Head Alley. Pope's Head Alley was at first inhabited by fruit and booksellers; then turners and toy makers, and later on by cutlers.
POPPINS COURT (Fleet Street – St. Bride's Street). – Formerly called Poppin jay and Popping's Court (popinjay = parrot). "Le Popyngaye" was a hostel or town house in Fleet Street belonging to the Cirencester Abbey already in 1325. The crest of these monks was a popinjay.
POST OFFICE COURT (off Lombard Street). – Named after the old General Post Office (the first in London) which stood here until 1829. (See also King William Street.)
POULTRY (the east end of Cheapside). – Poultry is mentioned as early as in the 14th century as Puletry. Stow mentions that this part of Cheapside was the poulterers' market. The poulterers sent their birds to be plucked in SCALDING ALLEY, which was situated close by.
PRIEST COURT (next to St. Vedast Church, 5, Foster Lane). – The situation next to the church may explain the name of this little court.
PRINCES STREET (Bank – Moorgate). – This street was built after the Fire and was given this name before erected.
PRINTING HOUSE LANE and
PRUDENT PASSAGE (off east side of King Street at No. 7 in Cheapside). – Originally known as Sun Alley probably after a tavern of that name. The present name only dates back to 1875. Harben offers a conjecture that the nomenclature was decided upon because of the foresight displayed in the construction. However, in 1925 the passage was moved some forty-three feet, consequent on building operations, so the "prudence" of 1875 has had a shock. The earlier name may have been obtained from a tavern.
PUDDING LANE (from Eastcheap, crossing Monument Street, and leading into Lower Thames Street). – Earlier called Rother Lane or Red Rose Lane, being later on changed to the present one, "because the butchers of Eastcheap have their scalding houses for hogs here, and their puddings with other filth of beasts are voided down that way to their dung boats on the Thames." S. Ford in Londini quod reliquum, wrote the following in the year after the Great Fire:
"The next place viewed was where the flame began
From empty'd Tripes called Pudding Lane;
And ne'er, said she, to greater Honour rise,
Thou source of London's tragedy."
The Great Fire began here, at the house of the King's baker who had a shop in Pudding Lane, on the night of September 2nd, 1666, and in everlasting memory of this devastating holocaust Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to erect the Monument at this spot. Five-sixths of the City within the Wall were destroyed during the five days the fire lasted. (See further under Monument Street.) This is not the centre for dealers in fruit, especially oranges, lemons, grapes, etc.
PUDDLE DOCK and
PUMP COURT (close by the south end of Inner Temple Lane). – Here stood in earlier times a pump.
QUEENHITHE (from Queenhithe Dock leading to Upper Thames Street). – Anciently called Edred's Hithe after a Saxon. Queenhithe was in older times a place where fishmongers congregated. Hithe means a quay, and the name is said to have originated from the fact that this quay belonged to the Dowager Queen Eleanor, but it is also considered that the word queen may be a corruption of quern (corn). In the 12th century the name was Cornhithe, from the corn which was landed here. Wine from the Moselle was also landed here as early as 1288.
QUEEN'S HEAD PASSAGE (leading from Paternoster Row to Newgate Street). – Here stood "Dolly's Tavern," with a coffee room dating from the time of Queen Anne, whose head painted on one of the windows gave the name to this narrow passage according to Mr. Alan Stapleton. The name of Queen's Head Alley dates back to 1666, and was then named from the Queen's Head Tavern here situated.
QUEEN STREET (Cheapside – Upper Thames Street). – In 1256 called Soper Lane (Soaper). After the Fire changed to Queen Street in honour of Catherine of Braganza, Charles II's consort. The soapers or soap-makers evidently gave the first name to this street. Stow says of Soper Lane: "Took its name, not of soap-making, as some have supposed, but of Alleyne le Sopar, in the ninth of Edward II." But Stow has made more mistakes than this one. Good authorities agree that Sopers Lane belonged to the 'sopers' or makers of soap. Stow's Alleyne or Alan le Sopar may have been of that fraternity.
QUEEN VICTORIA STREET (Bank – Blackfriars). – This is one of the modern streets in the City, connecting the Bank Place with Blackfriars, and via Victoria Embankment. With Westminster In its continuation.
RACQUET COURT (north out of Fleet Street at No. 114.). – In 1720 the spelling was Racket Court. The origin of the name is obscure. There might have been a tennis court in this place. (See Cullum Street.) In the Fleet Prison there existed a Racket Court, but Fleet Prison or "The Fleet" as this debtors' prison was called, was situated to the east of Fleet Market or the street now called Farringdon Street. And thus the present Racquet Court cannot be on the spot of the prisoners' racket court. The riddle is still unsolved.
REDCROSS STREET (the continuation of Fore Street, running parallel with Whitecross Street). – Where Redcross Street joins Golden Lane stood in earlier times a stone cross, after which the street was named.
RED LION COURT (a cul-de-sac off Fleet Street). – Probably takes its name from a tavern "Red Lion," which stood close by.
ROMAN BATH STREET (off Newgate Street). – About 1280 this place was called Pentecoste Lane, which name was retained through the 14th and 15th centuries. Pentecoste may have been derived from the religious celebrations at St. Paul's near by. The Feast of Pentecost in Whitsun Week was attended by the City Corporation headed by the Mayor. In the 17th century, when this celebration had long been discarded, the name lapsed into Pincock Lane. This lane led to the Royal Bagnio Bath or Spa. By 1755 the lane had been re-named Bagnio Lane, later on translated into Bath Street (1838), and later the prefix Roman was added, presumably as an old Roman bath, fed by spring water, was extant in this part of the City. This bath is now destroyed. The only one left in London is to be found in Strand Lane, just outside the City boundary. This is one of the oldest Roman relics in London, nearly two thousand years old. As late as 1876 there was a cold bath house called the Royal Bath in this street
ROOD LANE (Fenchurch Street – Eastcheap). – The earliest name was Pattens Lane, which took its title from the Church St. Margaret Pattens, and that title again arose from the trade of patten makers carried on in this neighbourhood. A patten, as used in Queen Elizabeth's time, was a form of footgear similar to a clog, but the trade died out. The name survives in the name of the Church but the name of the lane was altered to Rood Lane (according to Stow) from the "rood" or holy cross, which was placed here in the churchyard of St. Margaret Pattens in 1538, while the church itself was being rebuilt, and at which offerings were received towards the cost of the new church.
ROPEMAKER STREET (branches off Finsbury Pavement and forms the boundary of the City). – The name is derived from the rope-walks situated here in earlier days. Formerly called Ropemaker Alley. Here died, in 1731, Daniel Defoe.
ROSEMARY LANE. (See Royal Mint Street.)
ROSE STREET (Newgate Street – Paternoster Square). – Earlier trace of this little street is found in 1210 as Ceciles Lane, when it belonged to Cecile de Turri. In 1276 mentioned as Dicers Lane (dicer = a gambler). In the beginning of the 15th century a tavern called "La Rose" existed here, from which the present name may have been derived.
ROYAL MINT STREET (from the south end of Minories and eastwards). – Only the very beginning of this street falls within the City boundary. Earlier name was ROSEMARY LANE which name is recorded in the Register of St. Mary Matfelon, White Chapel, in 1649, but the name is most likely of much earlier origin, when this part, which was situated outside the old City Wall, had a purely rural character. In 1321 this thoroughfare is met with as Hogge Streete, but became Rosemary Lane early in the 17th century and remained thus until 1850-60, when the street was re-named after the Royal Mint which had been erected here already in 1811. Rosemary Lane was once famous as a Rag Fair, and here lived, and died, a ragman by trade one Richard Brandon, who "is supposed to have cut off the head of Charles I." The "Rag Fair" was ordered to be suppressed by the High Constable of the Tower division in February 1700 but not until 1880 was the Fair partly transferred to Petticoat Lane, where it swelled the old-established rag fair of that street. As late as 1909 a Sunday market was held in Royal Mint Street for such articles as knives, forks, scissors, china ornaments, toys and household wares. Apart from these unsavoury memories from old Rosemary Lane there is one of special interest to matchmakers. Here was once upon the time, let us say about 1800, the centre of the London match-stick trade. In "Modern London," published 1804, there is a coloured print of a little boy selling match-sticks outside the Mansion House, crying out matches, which, it is stated: "the criers of this convenient article are very numerous." A cry from this time runs:
"Come buy my good matches, come buy of me,
They are the best matches you ever did see,
An old woman in Rosemary Lane
Who dipped them, and dyed them, and I do the same."
ST. ALBAN'S COURT (west out of Wood Street). – Former name Fryingpan Alley. Present name from 1799 and named after St. Alban's Church situated opposite in Wood Street.
ST. BENET PLACE (at No. 58, Gracechurch Street). – An old-world alley with a pair of fine iron gates. In 1553 named Jerusalem Alley, and in 1720 Jerusalem Court. The present name was taken in 1841 from St. Benet Grass Church. The church and street both take the name from the herb market kept here in the old days. (See also Gracechurch Street.)
ST. BRIDE'S AVENUE (round St. Bride's Church, at the east end of Fleet Street). – Built in 1825 by the parishioners and named after the St. Bride's Church.
ST. BRIDE'S STREET (Shoe Lane – Farringdon Street). – Constructed about 1869 as an approach to Holborn. Named after St. Bride's Church.
ST. DUNSTAN'S ALLEY (Idol Lane – St. Dunstan's Hill). – Named after St. Dunstan's Church along which the alley runs.
ST. DUNSTAN'S HILL (Great Tower Street – Lower Thames Street). – This hill forms with Idol Lane a fork. Named after the Church of St. Dunstan's-in-the-East standing here.
ST. HELEN'S PLACE (off Bishopsgate). – A quaint old square, or rather cul-de-sac, with entrance from Bishopsgate through iron gates* bearing the crest of the Leather Sellers' Company, a City Guild which has a Livery Hall here. This place is named after St. Helen's Church (in Great St. Helen's), built in the 13th century. It was originally the Church of the Priory of the Nuns of St. Helen's founded in 1145. The buildings in St. Helen's Place date from 1799. (See also Great St. Helen's.)
* [Many streets were in the old days enclosed by gates, fastened at night. St. Helen's place is one of the few left. Hatton Gardens in Holborn (outside City) is another enclosed place and up to a few years ago this place had still its watchman in a box.]
ST. MARY AXE (Leadenhall Street – Houndsditch). – Here stood once the church of St. Mary the Virgin, St. Ursula, and the Eleven Thousand Virgins, which church, according to Stow, in about the year 1565 was converted into a warehouse. The name of the street is taken from the church, which again obtained its name from a sacred relic one of the three Axes with which the Eleven Thousand Virgins were beheaded. One of the houses in this street bore the sign of an Axe. Once upon a time the skinners congregated in this street. The street is now a shipping centre, and since 1903 the Baltic Mercantile and Shipping Exchange has a palatial complex in this street.
ST. MARTIN'S LE GRAND (a short avenue from the east end of Newgate Street to Aldersgate Street). – Here stood the collegiate church of St. Martin's le Grand, dedicated to a French Saint. The site of the present G.P.O. was formerly the site of a famous sanctuary, independent of Mayor or Corporation. It shared with Bow Church the honour of ringing the hour for closing the City gates.
ST. MARY AT HILL (leading down from East – cheap to Lower Thames Street)). – Named after the Church of St. Mary standing in this lane.
ST. MICHAEL'S ALLEY (off Cornhill). – Named after St. Michael's Church. In this alley was opened, in 1652, the first coffee-house in London by a Levantine named Pasqua Rosee.
ST. MILDRED'S COURT (on the north side of Poultry). – Named after St. Mildred's Church, demolished in 1872.
ST. SWITHIN'S LANE (King William Street – Cannon Street). – This lane terminates at the Church of St. Swithin-by-London-Stone, dedicated to the Saxon Bishop of Winchester, who died 862. The church later on gave the name to the lane.
SALISBURY COURT, leading from the east end of Fleet Street into
SALISBURY SQUARE. – Built on the site of Salisbury or Dorset House, the town residence of the Bishops of Salisbury, and later of the Earls of Dorset. At the lower end of the court of Salisbury House was built in 1629 the Salisbury Court Theatre, which finally perished in – the Great Fire. Strype calls Salisbury Court for Dorset Court. (See also Dorset Street.)
SALTER'S COURT (a passage leading from Cannon Street into Oxford Court). – The court takes its name from the Salters' Company and Hall in St. Swithin's Lane near by.
SARACEN'S HEAD YARD (off south side of Aldgate.) – Marks the site of the Saracen's Head Inn.
SAVAGE GARDENS (connects Crutched Friars with Trinity Square). – Sir Thomas Savage lived in the parish of St. Olaves, Hart Street, and had his residence here in the early part of the 17th century, and his name is commemorated in this street, which evidently was built on the site of his garden.
ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD (running to the north, south and east of St. Paul's Cathedral). – The position of these streets explains the name. The street running to the north of St. Paul's is the only street in the City which is free from carts and buses. This is a street for foot passengers only.
SEACOLE LANE (Farringdon Street – Fleet Lane). – In the 13th century Sacole L. and Secoles L., and in the 16th century the forms "Secole lane, otherwise Secow Lane," appear. Sea-cole was the trade name of coal coming by the sea from the coal mines to the Port of London. The lane no doubt obtained its original name from being the landing place of the barges coming up the "Flete River" loaded with sea-coal. Shiploads of this commodity were brought into London during the 13th century.
SEETHING LANE (from the junction of Hart Street and Crutched Friars to Byward Street, Tower Hill). – No City street can show such a number of different spellings of the old original name. They are given below, as recorded by Mr. Bonner:
Ceveden Lane is another form during Edward III. Stow gives an additional spelling – Sidon Lane, corruptly called Sything Lane. As the earliest traceable name does not date back earlier than 1257, it is not improbable that the first one given here is a corruption or a misspelling. The various forms were submitted to Dr. H. Bradley, and he suggested a clue to this most curious of the City street names. He said that the forms have a close resemblance to Sifethena, the genitive plural of Sifethe, meaning bran or chaff. The ancient hay and grass markets round Fenchurch and Gracechurch Streets might have had some connection with another fodder market further east and given the name to this lane, but no conclusive evidence of the name thereof has so far been produced.
SERJEANTS' INN (off 49, Fleet Street). – This inn was one of the two inns of the judges and serjeants-at-law from 1453 to 1758, when, the lease expiring, the judges and serjeants gave up the property to the freeholders, the Dean and Chapter of York, and took up their quarters in the other Serjeants' Inn, off Chancery Lane. Serjeants' Inn was originally given in 1409 to the Dean and Chapter of York. In that time it consisted of shops. In the reign of George I. it was full of public-houses.
SERMON LANE (Carter Lane – Knightrider Street). – In spite of the name and the neighbourhood of St. Paul's the name of this place has nothing to do with preaching. The word is a corruption of Sheremoniers Lane. Stow says that "Sheremonyars" were such persons as cut and rounded the plates to be coined or stamped into "Easterling pence" at the coining place, Old Exchange, as early as Edward I. (See also Old 'Change.) Harben gives another version and says: "It seems more likely that the name of the lane was derived from the family of Sarmoner, who held property here in the time of Henry III. The original name of this place was Sarmoners-lane and I think that Stow's declaration is the weaker one of the two."
SHAFTESBURY PLACE (leading from the east side of Aldersgate Street at No. 34). – This courtyard formed part of the site of Thanet House, built by Inigo Jones in 1644 for John Tufton, Earl of Thanet. After his death the first Earl of Shaftesbury entered into possession and the name was changed into Shaftesbury House. In the 18th century the house became an inn and later a hospital. The house was pulled down in 1882 to make way for offices. In June, 1925 the new Hall of the Ironmongers' Company was opened here.
SHERBORNE LANE (King William Street – Abchurch Lane). – In 1273 mentioned as Shyteburgh Lane, and during the 14th century Shitbourne, later on Shirbourne, and in 1556 Sherborne. The first part of the original name is the same as the old English scytta, an archer, or in Swedish skytt (bagskytt), but it was also a personal name like Archer is now, and is also Skytte in Swedish. The latter part "burgh" meant a stronghold, or in Swedish" borg," thus the old English shyteburgh of 1273 does not differ much from the modern Swedish skytteborg, a defended place, or alternatively the Castle of the Skytte family. This by way of curiosity.
SHOE LANE (Holborn – Fleet Street). – The older forms, in the 13th century, were Well and Showell Lane, and also Scolane. Mention is made of a well called Showelle at the upper end of the lane. In 1461 there was here a tenement called the "Shewe," which may have been named after this Showelle, and the present name of the street maybe traced to this tenement.
SHORTERS COURT (south out of Throgmorton Street at No. 5). – First mentioned in 1677 and probably named after the owner.
SILK STREET (Whitecross Street – Milton Street). – This street was made in 1879 and absorbed Adelaide Place.
SILVER STREET (Wood Street – Monkwell Street). – Earliest form Selvernestrate. According to Stow silversmiths resided here formerly and gave the name to the street; later on they removed to Foster Lane. GOLDSMITH STREET also branches off Wood Street, but further south near the Cheapside end. (See Goldsmith Street.) Goldsmiths' Hall is also situated in this district.
SISE LANE (Queen Victoria Street – Budge Lane). – This name is a curious revival of the name of St. Osyth, an East Saxon Saint. In 1400 this place was called Seint Sythes Lane, also spelt Siths Lane, and later on St. Size Lane, Sice Lane, Size Lane and the present spelling appears in 1763
SMITHFIELD (West), (north of Giltspur Street). – Originally called Smooth field, later on corrupted into Smith field. Tournaments were held here in medieval times, and the Bartholomew Fair was held here annually for over seven centuries until 1855, when the Fair was discontinued. Where the Metropolitan Meat Market is now situated lay formerly Copenhagen Fields.
SNOW HILL (a shortcut from Smithfield fish market to Newgate Street). – Has nothing to do with snow or ice. It occurs very early as Snor or Snore Hill, later as Sore, and finally as Snow Hill. It has been suggested that the name is derived from the Celtic word snuadh = a brook, the street leading once to the Fleet River.
SOUTHWARK BRIDGE (the central one of the three City Bridges). – It was begun in 1815, and opened on March 24th, 1819. Southwark is O.E. sudgeweorc = fortification in the South. The Danes, when they sailed up the Thames and were encountered by Alfred, built the fortress.
STAINING LANE (off Gresham Street). – According to Stow so named after the painter stainers dwelling there. The Painter Stainers' Hall, however, has since 1532 stood in Little Trinity Lane. The craft of "painter-stainers" were so-called because a picture on canvas was formerly termed "a stained cloth." STAPLE INN (in Holborn). – Situated just outside the City boundary. Originally an Inn of the Merchants of the Wool Staple, a kind of custom house for wool.
STAR ALLEY (a passage between Nos. 5 and 7, Mark Lane, leading to an open space at the back of "London Tavern"). – Here the old tower of the Church of All-hallows Staining is still standing. There was a Star Inn in Mark Lane in 1669, or earlier, and the Star Alley existed then and may have given access to this inn, which must then have been almost attached to the old "King's Head," the forerunner of the present "London Tavern."
STATIONERS HALL COURT (out of Ludgate Hill). – The Earl of Pembroke's house in Ave Maria Lane was sold in 1611 to the Stationers' Company, who made it their Hall. The Hall was burnt down in 1666, but rebuilt in 1670, on the same site where it still stands. The court is named after the Stationers' Hall.
STEW LANE (off Upper Thames Street, near Queenhithe Dock). – Stow says: "... Stew Lane, of a stew or hothouse there kept." Mr. Alan Stapleton, in his charming and interesting book, "London Alleys, Byways and Courts," gives the following information of the place: "Stew Lane, the narrow passage leading to the Stew Quay, had the unsavoury reputation of being the embarking place for the ladies (who, in the reign of Edward III., were ordered to "wear striped hoods of party colours and their garments the wrong side outwards") on their passage across the river to the "Bordello" or "Stews." This lane was also known during an earlier time as Hamond's Lane, and still earlier as Parker's Lane.
SUFFOLK LANE (from Upper Thames Street, running into Laurence Pounteney Hill) – This lane marks the site of the "Manor of the Rose," which belonged successively to the Suffolks and the Buckinghams. Sir John Poultney's house near the Church of St. Lawrence, which stood here, was subsequently presented to Sir Charles Brandon by Henry VIII. (See also Cold Harbour Lane.)
SUGAR LOAF COURT (off the east end of Leadenhall Street). – In the 16th century called Sugar Loafe Alley, formerly Sprinckle Alley. An Inn called the "Two Sugar Loaves" existed in Leadenhall Street in the 17th century, which gave the present name to this little alley, which in form, curiously enough, resembles a sugar loaf, broad at the base and finishing in a narrow top towards the Leadenhall Street end. The "Sugar Loaves" used to be an old trade sign and also a name for tea-houses in the 18th century. There is also a SUGAR LOAF COURT off Garlick Hill.
SWAN LANE (between Upper Thames Street and the river wharves). – The Vintners Company, who have their Hall in Upper Thames Street, and the Dyers Company have, by immemorial usage, kept swans on the Thames, now only to be seen in the upper reaches. Once a year a party of these two City Companies start on an expedition to mark the young swans, which is called Swan Upping, and the importance of this ceremony in the olden times is apparent from such names in the neighbourhood as Old Swan Lane and Old Swan Pier.
SWEDELAND COURT (off Bishopsgate near corner of Middlesex Street). – Earlier spellings Sweedland and Swedeland Alley (in 1677). In the 17th century Sweden was styled "Swedeland" in English literature. This place may have been a residence of Swedes. Another conjecture I put forward in the first edition read: – "Swede turnips, commonly called 'swedes,' were many years ago introduced from Sweden into England, and it may be possible that land for the cultivation of this new vegetable existed in this part. The nearness to Spitalfield, which has been a vegetable market for many years, might perhaps also account for the name." In a City map of about 1750 there appears to the east of Little Tower Hill, abutting upon the "Victually Office" and Pound Yard, south of Rosemary Lane (now Royal Mint Street), a Swedland Court which proves that the Bishopsgate Swedeland Court was not the only one of that name. Although I have made special efforts to solve the origin of this alley, I have, so far, been unsuccessful.
TALBOT COURT – (east out of Gracechurch Street). – Here stood Tabard Inn which gave the name to this little passage. A "tabard" was a sleeveless coat worn in ancient times by heralds. The old Tabard Inn in the Borough was rebuilt, after the Southwark fire 1676, and by an ignorant landlord renamed the Talbot (a kind of hunting dog) instead of Tabard, and other taverns took the same name.
TALLIS STREET (a new street from Temple Avenue leading to Guildhall School of Music at corner of John Carpenter Street). – Built in 1901 and named by the City Corporation after the great Tallis, to whom church music in England is so deeply indebted.
TANFIELD COURT (south of Temple Church) Named after Chief Baron Tanfield who lived here in the reign of James I. This place was earlier known as Bradshaw's Rents, after Henry Bradshaw, Treasurer during King Henry VIII's reign.
TELEGRAPH STREET (off the eastern side of Moorgate Street). – Originally called Great Bell Yard. The alley on the western side of Moorgate Street is still called Great Bell Alley. Prior to 1873 the Telegraph Department of the Post Office was established here which explains the name.
THAMES STREET (see Upper and Lower Thames Streets). – Now divided into Upper and Lower Thames Street. Earlier known as Stockfishmongers Row. A stockfishmonger was a merchant of stock fish chiefly imported from Prussia, The name of Thames Street dates back to about 1275. The name is obvious, the street running along the River Thames. The street was once the principal street within the City Wall Geoffrey Chaucer, the "Father of English poetry" and author of Canterbury Tales, was born in this street at a house at or near the foot of Dowgate Hill.
THAVIES INN (opens out south of Holborn Circus). – One John Thavie, an armourer of the City who died in the 14th century lived here, and after him was named Thavie's Inn which became an Inn of Chancery in the reign of Edward III, and the most ancient of the hostels for law students. This inn gave the name to this little court.
THREADNEEDLE STREET (Bank – Bishopsgate). – A very old street. The origin of the name is wrapped in mystery, but it may have been derived from the three needles appearing in the arms of the Needlemakers' Company. Whether the thread and needle employed by the tailors, or the three needles in the arms of the Needlemakers' Company, gave the name to the street are mere conjectures. Old spellings give the name Thridneedle and Thredneedle. Stow calls it plainly Three-needle Street. The old spelling of "thridneedle" contains the old regular ordinal derived from three = the third needle; quite possibly there is association with "thread," though thread is a possible form of the ordinal number. I lean towards the three needles derivation. The Merchant Taylors' Hall is located in this street, and their present Hall dates far back in history, having escaped the Great Fire,
THREE CRANES LANE (branches off the south side of Upper Thames Street near the Queen Street end). – The Vintners had an old landing stage here near the Steel Yard. Originally called the Crane Wharf, later Two Cranes' Wharf, but in the 17th century and for several hundred years Three Cranes' Wharf, since three cranes of timber were here in existence for the unloading of ships carrying wines. The "Three Cranes' Tavern," one of the best-known inns in this part of the City, stood here. (See also Crane Court.)
THROGMORTON AVENUE (Throgmorton Street – London Wall). – At the northern end stands Carpenters' Hall. The old garden of this Company extended to the south to Drapers Garden. Here stood Carpenters Buildings, but they were removed together with the original Carpenters' Hall, in 1876, for the formation of this avenue.
THROGMORTON STREET (Lothbury – Broad Street). – Named after Sir Nicholas Throckmorton or Throgmorton (buried in St. Catherine Creechurch where a monument in his memory is to be found on the south wall). Sir Nicholas was tried for complicity in the Wyatt rising, but acquitted. During Queen Elizabeth's reign he became Chamberlain of the Exchequer and appointed Ambassador to France. He died in 1571. In this narrow street the members of the Stock Exchange congregate before and after the hours of "the House."
TOKENHOUSE YARD (off Lothbury). Built by Sir Wm. Petty on the site of the Earl of Arundel's house and garden. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth the want of legally recognised halfpence and farthings impelled the almost general use among ale-house keepers, chandlers, grocers, vintners, and other small traders of private tokens made of lead, tin, and even of leather. A Token or Mint House was built here in the reign of Charles I, who increased his private revenue by granting patents for the issuing of Royal farthings, tokens, hence the name.
TOOLEY STREET (leading to London Bridge along the southern shore of the Thames). – The City boundary is in the middle of the Thames, thus this street is without the City, but the particular trade carried on in this street is intimately connected with the business of the City, and its name has therefore been included. Here stands an old church dedicated to Saint Olav, the Christian King of Norway, who came to the assistance of Ethelred II. against the Danes in 1008. The name of the street is a corruption of Saint Olav, the letters "Sain" being left out in the beginning and "v" at the end, the "a" in Olav being converted into "ey." It is one of the most curious corruptions amongst the City street names, Nine hundred years after the Danes fought a battle here, the merchants dealing in Danish produce – butter, bacon, and eggs – have made this street their headquarters.
TOWER HILL and
TOWER ROYAL (a narrow lane connecting Budge Row with Cannon Street). – Extended formerly from the east end of Watling Street southwards to Thames Street. In the 17th century the southern portion became College Hill, and in the 19th century it was curtailed across its southern end through the extension of Cannon Street, and. later on it was further chipped at its northern end by the formation of Queen Victoria Street. Thus the original street was of some importance. It was situated in a district where vintners or wine merchants had their quarters. The street was originally called the street of Reole or Riole after the town of La Reole near Bordeaux, It is on record that the wine merchants had an established quarter here in 1289 called "la Ryole," and the name changed into Ryoll and in 1457 into Royall.
TRIG LANE and
TRINITY HOUSE lies within the City, but TRINITY SQUARE on Tower Hill, to which it gave its name, is without the City boundary. The Brethren of Trinity constitute the Controllers of lighthouses, (See also Tower Hill,)
TRUMP STREET (off the west side at King Street). – Formerly Trump Alley. This name records the once popular trade of trumpers or trumpet-makers. The name of John Caryll, "Trompour," appears in 1308 and William de Trompour in 1329. Their principal customers were probably the City waits or watchmen who sounded the hours of the watch.
TURNAGAIN LANE (off Farringdon Street near Holborn Viaduct). – Originally known as Wenageyn, and later as Wendagain Lane. It was then, as now, a cul-de-sac, by which fact the name is fully explained. It ran originally from Snow Hill down to the Fleet River.
UNION COURT (opposite St. Andrew's Church in Holborn [Shoe Lane]). – Originally called Scroop's Court from the noble family of Scroop of Bolton who had a town house here.
UNION COURT (off north – eastern side of Old Broad Street at No. 41). – Former names Queen's Head Alley and White Horse Court. In 1732 referred to as Union Court or Hand Court,
UPPER THAMES STREET (King William Street – Blackfriars). – Thames Street was the name of the main thoroughfare from Blackfriars to Tower Hill before Queen Victoria Street was built. When the present London Bridge was built the street name was divided into Upper Thames Street from Blackfriars (where it joins Queen Victoria Street) to London Bridge and Lower Thames Street from the Bridge to Tower Hill. Its name was derived from its nearness to the River running along same and giving access to the numerous wharves which still dot the riverside. (See also Thames Street.)
VICTORIA EMBANKMENT (along the Thames to the east of Blackfriars Bridge). – Only the eastern part lies within the City. Built in 1862-70. Named in honour of Queen Victoria.
VINE STREET (along the western side of Minories). – In ancient time a vineyard existed here.
VINTRY WHARF (off Upper Thames Street near Southwark Bridge). – The merchants of Bordeaux landed their wine here, and sold same to the vintners, hence the name. Vintners Hall still stands near by, and the Ward is called the Vintry.
WALBROOK (leading from the west side of Mansion House to Cannon Street). – A brook in this neighbourhood is mentioned as far back as 1068, but the name Wall Brook does not appear until the 12th century. Sir Laurence Gomme stated in one of his interesting books on the History of London that this brook was the centre of the worshippers of Roman London. The brook had its rise beyond the City Wall in Moorfields and entered the City opposite the present Finsbury Circus, and found its way, as it still does, to the Thames, where Cannon Street Railway Station is now situated. BARGE YARD (with entrance from Bucklersbury where this lane joins the south side of Queen Victoria Street) indicates that the stream was navigable for a short distance. The evident explanation of the origin of the name – viz. that the brook ran through the old City Wall – is not the right one. The earliest form Walebroc suggests O.E. wealh, pl. weala = a stranger, a foreigner, i.e., the stream of the strangers (perhaps of the Britons). This explanation is given by J. E. B. Gover and is shared by other authorities
WARDROBE PLACE and
WARWICK LANE and
WATER LANE (an S-shaped approach from Great Tower to the Custom House in Lower Thames Street). – Earlier called Sporier and Spurrier Lane, from the fact that spurriers or spur makers had their quarters here in the 14th century. Trinity House was situated here before the Institution moved to its present site in Trinity Square. A block of offices in Water Lane is now called Old Trinity House. This lane leads down to a water gate near by the Custom House; hence its name.
WATER LANE (from the east end of Carter Lane to Queen Victoria Street). – This lane runs along the back of Ludgate Hill Station. Origin of name unknown. Whitefriars Street, not so far away, used to be called Water Lane, and there is still another Water Lane near the Custom House. Streets running towards the river were evidently given the name of Water Lane.
WATLING STREET (St. Paul's Churchyard – Queen Victoria Street). – The usual theory is that the name Watling (Wathling or Gathelin of the Saxons) is derived from an old Saxon name Atheling or Aetheling, and in the 13th century the name of this street was Atheling Street, or the street of nobles, and later Watheling and Watling. Professor Eilert Ekwall of the Lund University (Sweden), however, points out that in 926 the form Wæclinga street appears, and this form, he thinks, is the original one. Wæclinga was the name of a tribe living near St. Alban's the old name of which was Wæclingacrester. The old Watling Street, which was the principal street in Roman London and the main road from Dover, passed St. Alban's, and Professor Ekwall thinks that Watling Street originally meant "the road to St. Alban's." The present Watling Street is, according to Stukeley, only a vicinal branch of the original route, which did not run through the City, but, after diverging westwards in St. George's Fields, crossed the River at Stangate and thence pursuing a northwesterly course through St. James's Park, Mayfair and part of Hyde Park, traversed the Oxford Road on its way to St. Alban's. Addle Hill is allied to the same name (See further under Addle Hill.) The name was altered to Watling Street in 1307.
WEST HARDING STREET (See East Harding Street.)
WEST SMITHFIELD (the open space in front of Smithfield Market at the end of Giltspur Street). (See Smithfield.)
WHITECROSS STREET (running northwards from the function of Fore Street and Redcross Street). – Named after a white stone cross mentioned as far back as 1275, and also mentioned in Stow's "Survey."
WHITE FRIARS STREET (Fleet Street – Carmelite Street). – Before 1844 this street was known as Water Lane. This street ran originally from Fleet Street right down to the Thames, which explains its original name. In the early part of the 17th century this lane was in a fearful state, "stopped up with dung and dirte that the passengers can hardlie passe." Near the river side stood the London house of the Friars of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel, popularly known as the White Friars or Carmelites.
WHITE HART COURT (at the corner of Bishopsgate and Liverpool Street). – This court marks the site of a tavern established in the 15th century and rebuilt 1829.
WHITE LION COURT has almost disappeared, but the name can still be seen over the entrance to a door in the Bank of Scotland at the corner of Cornhill and Bishopsgate. Here stood the White Lion Tavern, destroyed by the Great Fire.
WHlTTINGTON AVENUE (leading into Leadenhall Market from Leadenhall Street). – Named after Sir Richard Whittington who owned the Leaden Hall. (See further under Leadenhall Street.)
WILSON YARD (north out of Lower Thames Street leading to Baker's Hall). – Earlier names Horshoe Court and Nags Head Court, also Witchellors Yard. The present name may be a corruption of the latter name.
WINCHESTER AVENUE (north out of Silver Street). – In 1677 called Winchester Court. Origin unknown.
WINE OFFICE COURT (an alley off the northern side of Fleet Street, giving entrance to the "Old Cheshire Cheese Tavern"). – The office where wine licences were granted stood formerly in this court. "Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese" chop house, "rebuilt 1667," stands here, a delight to all Londoners and tourists alike.
WOOD STREET (Cheapside – London Wall). – Already in 1156 the street name appears as Wodestrate. This street formed a part of the market district round the northern end of Cheapside. Firewood was apparently sold in this quarter. Stow has two conjectures as to its name – first that it was so called because the houses were built of wood, contrary to Richard I's edict that all London houses should be built of stone, to prevent fire; secondly, that it was called after one Thomas Wood Sheriff in 1491 (Henry VII.), who dwelt in this street. At the Cheapside end of this street stands a solitary plane tree to which Wordsworth alludes in "The Reverie of Poor Susan". But Mr Wilfred Whitten disputes this common assertion as the thrush of the poem was caged, no tree is mentioned and furthermore when the poem was written in 1797 the Wood Street plane tree was not growing in Cheapside.
WORCESTER PLACE (south out of Upper Thames Street to the west of Vintners' Hall). – leading to
WORCESTER WHARF – Here stood in the 15th century Worcester House, belonging to the Earls of Worcester, but Stow records that the palace was "now divided into many tenements."
WORMWOOD STREET (Bishopsgate – Broad Street). – Named from wormwood (Latin, Artemisia absinthium), which was grown as a medicinal wort on the slopes near London and especially on the banks of the City ditch near the old gates and beneath London Wall.
WRESTLERS' COURT (off south side of Camomile Street). – In Stow's time there was a house called "The Wrestlers" standing against the City Wall, from which this Court has taken its name.
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