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Streets

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  • Bedfordbury

    Bedfordbury

    As a suffix to place names it is Anglo-Saxon for ‘fortified place’; this is often attested but given the history of the area must be erroneous. More likely it is a self-congratulatory pun since at one time in the early nineteenth century there were six pubs on the street and in contemporaneous slang, fortified was a favourite euphemism for drunk. By coincidence the land on which Bedfordbury...

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  • Bow Street

    Bow Street

    Shaped like a bow, the original street of the 1630s ran from Floral Street to Tavistock Street. It was later extended north to Long Acre and south to the Strand via Wellington Street. As early as 1632, the vicinity of Bow Street and Drury Lane became known as 'Thieving Alley', which was increasingly "Troblinge the adjacent areas... by lewdest Blades and female Naughty-packs"!

    In 1637...

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  • Buckingham Street

    Buckingham Street

    In times gone by, the ground where Buckingham Street now stands was the riverbed of the mighty Thames and more recently (well, between 1237 and 1672) was in the grounds of the magnificent York House wherein centuries of eminent people had lived: Queen Mary I, Francis Bacon, the Shah of Persia, Peter the GreatÖ

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  • Carey Street

    Carey Street

    Carey Street is perhaps most famous for the bankruptcy court also resident. It moved here from Westminster in the 1840s due to the escalating number of common law judges. It is because of this connection with bankruptcy that the street is known to wags as Queer Street, an approximate nadir to the familiar zenith of 'Easy Street'. Here 'queer' is being used as a reference to an antiquated slang...

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  • Catherine Street

    Catherine Street

    Before the construction of Aldwych, Catherine Street connected Covent Garden and the Strand and was very much busier with traffic than it is today. By day market traders would ferry their produce to and from chefs and wholesalers, by evening carriages would transport theatregoers to see the stars of the stage and by night the bawd, the wench and the hussy would ply for the trade of the...

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  • Cecil Court

    Cecil Court

    Robert Cecil was an important courtier to Queen Elizabeth I and renowned as a trailblazing spymaster. Although unimpressive in stature he had a keen wit and mischievous temperament leading the Queen to refer to him as “my elf” much to Cecil’s chagrin. Despite favour from the Crown, Cecil had his enemies who would besmirch his reputation with scandal and slander. In 1588, Motley’s History of...

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  • Chandos Place

    Chandos Place

    This street, like many others in Covent Garden, owes its name to the Bedford family, the fourth Earl married Catherine Brydges of Chandos in 1608 and they had eight children; four of each. Catherine’s legacy can also be recognised in Brydges Place and Catherine Street. When she was alive and popping out babies her eponym was known as Chandos Street but in 1937 the street was renamed Chandos...

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  • Ching Court

    Ching Court

    Very few public areas of Covent Garden are genuinely reposeful: the Southern quad of St Paul’s Church can be relaxing when the wind wafts classical melodies from the Lower Courtyard. Lincoln’s Inn and Temple can be quiet or chaotic in equal measure but surely the most sedate cranny in and around Covent Garden is Ching Court.

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  • Cleopatra's Needle

    Cleopatra's Needle

    Before Julius Caesar invaded in 43AD, the area which London now covers was farming land and forests, sparsely populated with individual primitive constructions; only with Roman occupation did London begin to gel as a city but even at this time Cleopatra’s needle was an historic relic detailing the deeds of pharaohs long forgotten.

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  • Compton Street

    Compton Street

    Over history the entity which was Compton Street has had a varied functionality. To start with it was an anonymous route for farmers and livestock but quickly developed into an important thoroughfare, it was rapidly built up between 1677 - 1683 when Soho was burgeoning both in size and fame. The first residents of Compton Street were very well-to-do: Dukes, Earls and Barons rubbed shoulders...

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