The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 26 From St Paul's Cathedral to the Bank of England


Previous - Next

26. FROM ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL TO THE BANK OF ENGLAND. STATIONS: Moorgate, on the Metropolitan Railway, the City and South London Railway, and the Great Northern and City Tube, Bank and Mansion House. OMNIBUSES traverse Cheapside in constant succession (Nos. 7, 8, 17. 22, 23, 25). From the Peel Statue, or, more exactly, from the convergence of Newgate St. and St. Martin's-le-Grand, Cheapside, a short and busy thoroughfare, runs east towards the Mansion House and Bank. It was formerly known as the Chepe (from Old English 'ceap,' a bargain) and was originally an open space occupied by a market. The names of the cross-streets probably indicate the position of the different classes of traders' booths at this early period. The shops of 'Golden Cheapside ' (as Herrick calls it), particularly those of the mercers and jewellers, still enjoy a high reputation. Its historical reminiscences are innumerable, and its literary associations range from Chaucer to 'John Gilpin.' The prentices of Chepe were long notorious for their turbulence. Cheapside Cross, one of those erected by Edward I. to Queen Eleanor, stood at the corner of Wood St. until overthrown by the Puritans in 1643. Near the west end of Cheapside Foster Lane leads to the left (north), passing the church of St. Vedast (open 12-3, except Saturday), rebuilt after the Great Fire by Wren, who added the graceful steeple in 1697. The oaken altar is attributed to Grinling Gibbons. Robert Herrick, son of a goldsmith in Cheapside, was christened here on August 2nd, 1591. St. Vedast or Vaast (whence 'Foster' Lane) was bishop of Arras in 500-540.