Little Trinity Lane EC4
UG: Mansion House
Bus: 15 17 25 521 To Friday Street
From Mansion House Station (Cannon Street south side) walk down Garlick Hill for about 25 yds, turn right into Gt Trinity Lane and in about 60 yds turn left.
Little Trinity Lane still has an air of quaintness as does the whole of this quarter of the City. Dotted with tiny lanes and alleys it is as perfect a reminder as we can find of the character of London street just after the Great Fire. Everything is so tightly compacted together; a lane running down here, one crossing there, and all this a mere stride from the hectic junction of Queen Victoria Street and Cannon Street, with throbbing Mansion House Station swallowing up a diet of thousands of City commuters with incredible ease.
Things were pretty much the same around here before the Fire came and devoured every billet and habitat, taking with it the church of Holy Trinity-the-less. Perhaps the church would not have lasted very long in any case; when John Stow passed by here in 1598 he commented that it was very old, and in danger of falling down... it leaneth upon props and stilts. (see Great Trinity Lane). Also, further along, the Hall of the Painter-Stainers Company, a building which had stood on the site since about 1500, was lost to the mighty flames. There Company was incorporated in 1467 when they represented a wide range of associated trades and professions including decorators, sign board painter and portrait artists. The Painters and Stainers settled in Little Trinity Lane after they purchased the house of Sir John Brown, Sergeant Painter to Henry VIII. After the Fire, work was quickly under way to rebuild the Hall and by 1668, only two years later, the Company was back in residence. In 1915 the Hall was again rebuilt and further repairs were carried out in 1961 following damage caused in the Second World War.
Little Trinity Lane continues south, and then turning east it emerges at the junction of Upper Thames street and Garlick Hill. On the south side of the main road are a collection of antique lanes running down to the River, all currently under threat by modern developers.
Little Turnstile WC2
Bus: Any to Holborn Station
Off the south side of Holborn, about 85 yds east of Holborn Station.
One of two turnstiles on the north side of the pasture land which later became known as Lincoln's Inn Fields. (See Great Turnstile)
In Little Turnstile are Dunkin Doughnuts, Bagel Express, a luggage repair specialist, a sandwich and snack bar, a Thai restaurant, and the Ship Tavern.
Lombard Lane EC4
Bus: Any to Ludgate Circus
Follow the directions for Pleydell Street. Continue to the end of Pleydell Street and Lombard Lane is on the left.
Once a dirty slum, housing thieves and murderers; they congregated here to claim sanctuary, a privilege that continued for many years after the closure of the Whitefriars Monastery which occupied the site. Now, the Lane is transformed into a modern thoroughfare, and a satisfying orange brick building on the east side is one of the most recent additions. Still remaining from bygone days are the cobble stones and narrow pavements.
The name is thought to have come from Lombards money, a term used for savings set aside to pay off a lone from the Lombards. (See Lombard Court).
Mansion House Place EC4
Bus: Any to the Bank
Leave Bank Station via the exit signed: Mansion House, Poultry (south side), Walbrook.
Narrow Mansion House Place runs along side the western wall of the Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London. Until 1753, when the Mansion House was completed, the Lord Mayor had no official residence, he was offered rooms in one of the Company halls - usually the one with which he had affiliations. The front of the Mansion House, facing the Bank, has a large portico made up of six large columns supporting a pediment featuring a figure representing London with the left foot on the figure of Envy, urged along by old Father Thames, Commerce, Cupid and Plenty; it is best viewed from the corner of Prince's Street.
Besides being a residence the Mansion House is used for ceremonial functions and meetings of national importance. The Egyptian Hall, 90 feet long, 60 feet wide and capable of accommodating 400 people, is the venue for banquets and other major civic functions. There is also the old ballroom, drawing room and various reception rooms. Additionally, there is a court of justice where the Lord Mayor presides daily.
The mayoralty of London was established in 1192 when Henry Fitz Ailwyn was elected and remained in office until he died in 1212, a period of 20 years. In 1215 King John granted a charter to elect a new Mayor on an annual basis. Richard (Dick) Whittington was probably the most famous of all the Mayor's, he was elected on four separate occasions. Sir Crisp Gascoigne, elected to office in 1752, was the first Lord Mayor to take up residence at the Mansion House.
Election takes place on Michaelmas Day from two Aldermen nominated by the Liverymen of the Craft Guilds. On the Friday before the second Saturday in November he is installed. The following day he rides in state through the streets of London accompanied by fellow Aldermen in a colourful procession to the Royal Courts of Justice. Finally he is presented to the Recorder of the Queen's Bench Division of Judges.
Tours of the Mansion House can be organised for parties by applying in writing to the Principal Assistant, Mansion House EC4.
Milford Lane WC2
Bus: Any to Aldwych
Turn left out of Temple Station then left into Temple Place which runs round to the rear of Temple Station. Walk straight ahead towards the north-east corner and through the gate.
The twisting path of Milford Lane follows the course of a stream which presumably started its southern flow somewhere in the heights of Hampstead and was probably joined by the overflow from St Clement's well which was near to the church. Certainly, by the beginning of the 17th century, and probably much earlier, the course had either been diverted or the stream had dried up. By this time the Lane was already lined on both sides with houses and a number of stables reaching down to the Thames. The name has been in existence for many centuries and quite evidently the stream is the source of its origin. During the reign of James I a mill stood close to the eastward bend near the bottom of the Lane.
About halfway down the Lane stood the Rectory of St Clement Danes and here on the 15th March 1633 the Reverend Dr Roger Bates, Rector and Chaplain to James I and Charles I breathed his last breath and was buried in St Clement Danes Church. But Milford Lane was not all prayerful clergymen and halos, it harboured some of the most vicious criminals and unlawful schemesters of the time. In 1641 a mob of thirty-five Irish men were arrested in Milford Lane and imprisoned at Newgate for conspiring to set fire to the City of London.
The Lane still retains a trace of its old world past, although there are now no private houses - the last six survivors with timber framed bay windows were pulled down as long ago as 1852. It is still a single track road with a narrow pavement on one side only and the buildings are a mixture of brick and stone. Until 1870 when Victoria Embankment was opened, the edge of the Thames was only feet away from the southern end of the Lane and here there was a landing stage where coal and provisions brought by water were unloaded. From there the cargo was carried up the steep flight of steps, still in existence, to awaiting carts in Essex Street. On the corner of Little Essex Street is the Cheshire Cheese public house serving excellent Courage ales and at lunchtime (weekdays only) a fine compliment of snacks. At its northern end Milford Lane enters the Strand just to the south of St Clement Danes Church.
New Turnstile and Little Turnstile
Bus: Any to Holborn Stn
Off the south side of High Holborn approx 35 yds east of Holborn Station.
New Turnstile, named because it was more recently built than Great turnstile, was one of the gates erected for the passage of pedestrians at the four corners of Lincoln's Inn Fields. Adjacent, to the east, Little Turnstile was the predecessor to New Turnstile. It presumably fell into disrepair and was replaced.
There are no great thrills to be had from either of these little passages but perhaps Little T has the edge. It is heralded by a solitary telephone kiosk where the passage branches from Holborn in the corner of a triangular patch set back from the line of the pavement. There are four handy food establishments each offering their own speciality fare: Dunkin Doughnuts, Bagel Express, a Thai restaurant, and a sandwich and snack bar. Ladbrooks, bookmakers, have an office in New Turnstile and just around the corner in Gate Street is Bernies Grills. A specialist in luggage repairs has his shop here and to complete the picture, the Ship Tavern is at the end of the passage.
Newcastle Close EC4
UG: Chancery Lane/Blackfriars
Bus: Any to Holborn Viaduct
From Holborn Viaduct walk down the steps on to Farringdon Street. About 70 yds on the left.
Originally named Newcastle Street. Like Bear Alley, a few yards south of here, Newcastle Street used to turn in a south easterly direction to link up with Old Seacoal Lane. When the Holborn Viaduct to Blackfriars railway line was constructed in 1884 the length of the street was truncated to the few yards as we see today. It was then renamed Newcastle Close.
Strolling along Farringdon Street of modern London it seems a curious reflection to imagine that coal barges once sailed up the Fleet River as far as Ludgate. In those days coal was transported by sea from Tyneside and landed at the Thames-side wharves just east of London Bridge from where it was loaded into smaller vessels and brought to the Seacoal Lane merchants. Commonly, Londoner's heated their homes and cooked by charcoal - Seacoal, as the Newcastle fuel was called, did not come into more regular use until the 15th century which led to the pea-souper fog and remained the curse of central London until the 1960's.
To the north side is British Telecom's Meridian House and on the south side are the offices of Coopers and Lybrand. Lining the Close on either side are tall buildings faced with white glazed tiles.
Old Seacoal Lane EC4
Bus: Any to Ludgate Circus
Off the east side of Farringdon Street, a few yards north of Ludgate Circus.
The origin of this name stems from the time when barges transporting coal from the River Thames and along the Fleet River used to unload here. It sounds a curious place, and surely it once was; perhaps a little gloomy but certainly very much alive with gangs of sweaty coal-heaving men. When the River became so silted up with rubbish and barges could no longer complete the journey, Old Seacoal Lane slipped into a dreadful slum. In his less lucrative years, Oliver Goldsmith tolerated a miserable existence in lodgings here before moving on to better things in Wine Office Court.
Old Seacoal Lane is now a flight of steps rather than a lane, raising it into the neat area of Limeburner Lane. These lanes are some of the most recently developed in the City of London; they lie on the site of the railway tracks which until the early 1990's crossed Ludgate Hill on a bridge but now pass beneath the roadway. Old was only added to the name in the 1940,s to distinguish it from a newly constructed road running between Ludgate Hill and Old Bailey, [new] Seacoal Lane. The old cobble stones which once formed the surface of the road have been discarded in favour of modern materials. Beside the steps is an ultra modern building at 10 Fleet Place looking almost as though it were constructed of a giant Meccano set. On the corner of Old Fleet Lane, crouching beneath a block of offices is the White Swan public house.
On the site between Old Seacoal Lane and Fleet Lane stood the Fleet Prison, a substantial stone erection built in the mid 12th century with a surrounding moat. Prior to 1641 it was a house of detention for criminals of any nature but was subsequently used for debtors only. Within thirty years of being built the Fleet was so full to capacity with convicted inmates and those awaiting trial that the King was pressed into a decision to commence building an additional prison at Newgate. Prisoner confined to the Fleet were in the unfortunate situation of not only having to tolerate the deplorable condition within, but also had to suffer the stench drifting from without. Ever since the Romans took their leave of this island the Fleet River had been a general repository for anything unwanted. During the 13th century its murky depth was used by local butchers for washing their slaughtered cattle and disposing of any waste product; the infestation was so bad that prisoners were falling ill like nine-pins. On Tuesday 4th September 1666 the Fleet Prison was burnt to the ground and the prisoners were restrained in a building south of the Thames until rebuilding was completed. It was again destroyed by fire in 1780 when rioters set light to it but it was not until 1846 that the Fleet finally closed for all time.
Peter's Hill EC4
UG: Blackfriars/St Pauls
Bus: 4 11 15 17 23 26 76 172 To St Pauls
From Blackfriars ML Station walk east along the north side of Queen Victoria Street for almost ¼ mile. Peter's Hill runs along the east side of the College of Arms.
Climbing from Queen Victoria Street and along Peter's Hill leads along side the site of the church of St Peter, Paul's Wharf, which stood on the south-east corner. It was built about 1180 and burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666, never to be rebuilt. The parish was then incorporated into St Benet, Paul's Wharf, which still stands, almost opposite, on the south side of Queen Victoria Street. Peter's Hill was a curious place in those pre-Fire days; a dozen or so tiny houses lined the narrow alley just to the north of the church. Along the side of the church was Boss Court with its corner tavern, and next door a ropemaker's shop. It isn't that quaint old haunt any more, and has not been so for a good many years; all that greets us now is a wide hill of concrete steps raising the level to St Paul's Churchyard and Old Change Court, another contemporary creation developed for modern London.
Dominating the western side of the Hill with its frontage facing onto Queen Victoria Street is the imposing building of the College of Arms, sometimes referred to as the Heralds' College. It stands on the site of Derby House, built by the first Earl of Derby who married the mother of Henry VII, and presented to the Garter King of Arms by Queen Mary in 1555. Along with most of its neighbours the house was largely destroyed on the 3rd September 1666 but the Heralds had received prior warning and transferred their valuable centuries old archives to the Palace of Westminster. Rebuilding gave the planners an opportunity to design a building more suited for its purpose; the Heralds' didn't entertain guests and they had no use for the banqueting hall and large catering kitchen so these were omitted from the plans. To make way for the construction of Queen Victoria Street in 1871 the east and west wings were shortened but with this exception the building survives today in very much the same appearance as in the 17th century. Major renovation work took place in 1956 when the ornate crest mounted gates, originally made for Goodrich Court in Hertfordshire, were added to the courtyard.
The Heralds' and officers of the College of Arms are the official authority in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Commonwealth on all matters concerning Heraldry and pedigree. They were first incorporated by a charter granted by Richard III in 1484 and this was renewed by Mary I in 1555 shortly after she had presented them with Derby House. All officers of the College are directly appointed by the Crown and since 1672 they have acted on the authority of the Duke of Norfolk as Earl Marshall. Under his jurisdiction the College has for centuries been responsible for issuing arms and seals to notable persons. Among their other varied functions is the organisation of State ceremonies such as coronations, and the Heralds can be seen each year in ceremonial dress accompanying the Queen at the State opening of Parliament.
Opposite, on the south side of Queen Victoria Street, is the headquarters of the Salvation Army founded by William Booth in 1865. The Army grew from the most modest of beginnings; no grand building, church, or even a shack, but from a man, so dedicated, preaching the Gospel from a wooden box around the streets of Nottingham. He moved to London, taking up work in a pawnbrokers shop, and continued his mission to win souls amidst hostility and abuse, in the Mile End Road. In 1865 he opened the Christian Mission and through sheer determination his followers braved the streets of the East End, always ready to lend an ear to the deprived and down-and-outs.
In 1881 the Salvation Army began administering the organisation from their new headquarters here in Queen Victoria Street,continuing until it was destroyed by fire in May 1941. A new building was completed and opened by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in November 1963, just two years before the Army celebrated its 100th anniversary.
Paul's Wharf, now existing in name only, was the home and riverside mooring of Gilbert de Bruen, Dean of St Paul's Cathedral. On his death in 1354 he donated his estate to the Dean and Chapter to ensure that regular masses were said for the good of his soul.