The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 19 From Charing Cross To St Paul's Cathedral

Fleet Street 1

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Fleet Street, a direct continuation of the Strand and at least equally busy, leads from Temple Bar to Ludgate Circus, a distance of about a third of a mile. It is still far from unpicturesque in general effect, and is full of interesting literary associations. It contains many offices of London and provincial newspapers, with prominent signs. The name is derived from the Fleet River or Fleet Ditch, which rises amid the heights of Hampstead, flows through Holborn Valley, and joins the Thames near Blackfriars Bridge. The stream has, of course, been bridged over for many years and now fulfils the function of a large sewer. Newspapers, even if published in Fleet St. itself, are generally printed in the streets, squares, and courts on either side. The neighbourhood is especially animated between 9 p.m. and midnight, when the daily journals go to press with their first editions, which are carried to the great railway termini to catch the �newspaper trains.� �Late London editions� continue to be printed until 3 a.m., when the whirr of machinery subsides. Soon after this, however, the early editions of the evening papers call for a revival of activity, which continues until 6 p.m. or later. On the right, immediately below the Temple Bar Memorial, is Child's Bank, one of the oldest in London (founded in 1671), now amalgamated with Glyn, Mills, & Co. In the �Little London Directory� of 1677 Messrs. Child & Co. are included in a list of goldsmiths mentioned as keeping �running cashes.� On the books of the bank occur the names of many royal personagas, of Oliver Cromwell, Marlborough, Nell Gwynn, Prince Rupert, Pepys, and Dryden. It is supposed to be �Tellson's Bank,� which figures in Dickens's �Tale of Two Cities.� The present modern building covers also the site of the �Devil's Tavern,� where Ben Johnson reigned supreme in the �Apollo Club.'