Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fleet Street Stroll on a Lovely London Evening

Last night several of us went out to dinner...with a touristy walk at the beginning and end.  After a brief tube ride and a short walk, we arrived at Fleet Street.  Fleet Street was once the center of British Press and Journalism. It is also infamously known for Sweeney Todd (more on him in a bit).

First Stop - The Royal Courts of Justice

The Justice Studies students and I will be visiting the Royal Courts of Justice next week during our London Legal Walk.  The courtrooms here address primarily civil and criminal appeals.

Next Stop - the City of London

I know his may sound strange as I've been blogging from 'London' since Monday.  However, the actual City of London is based on the original Roman town of Londinium, founded around AD50. The City's boundaries have remained almost constant since the Middle Ages and it is often called The Square Mile, as it is almost exactly one square mile in area.  The dragon statues mark the boundaries of the City.

Third Stop - The Bank of England Pub

In the 16th and 17th centuries, two taverns stood on the site of the Old Bank of England, but were both demolished in 1888 to make way for the construction of the Law Courts’ branch of The Bank of England. Apparently lawyer's made a a lot of money back then too!

The Bank of England operated here until 1975, when the premises were sold.  In 1994, London brewers, Fuller, Smith and Turner took over the lease.

The Old Bank of England also has a more grisly connection with the past, for it lies between the site of the barber shop owned by Sweeney Todd, ‘The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’, and the pie shop owned by Mrs Lovett, his mistress. It was in the tunnels and vaults below the present building that his victims were butchered before being cooked and sold in the pies to Mrs Lovett’s unsuspecting customers. Despite the spectacular interior, I couldn't convince the others to stop here for an ale and pie.

A Few Quick Pictures

Number 17 Fleet Street, one of the few surviving buildings dating from before the Great Fire of London in 1666.

The Temple Church

This is the church of Inner and Middle Temple, two of England’s four ancient societies of lawyers, the Inns of Court.  You may know the Church's round nave from The DaVinci Code.

Dinner Stop - Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

When they say 'olde' in London, they mean old!  There has been a pub at this location since 1538 (mind boggling isn't it?). The pub was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666 and rebuilt the following year.  The literary figures Chales Dickens, Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Dr. Samuel Johnson (who wrote the English dictionary) are all said to have been 'regulars'. 

Either all of these gentlemen were quite short or this sign has been around for a along time...again, they aren't kidding.

Final Stop - St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Catedral sits on top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London.  The Cathedral was designed in the English Baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren. 

To say it was quite a nice evening is an understatement!!

*Note: in case you are especially impressed with my photos, you should know that I have the Internet to thank for many*

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