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Friday, 6 July 2012

London Monopoly (11): Bow Street

The first property in the 'Orange' set in my journey around the London Monopoly board.
The former Bow Street Magistrates Court
To most British people the name of Bow Street will be synonymous with Bow Street Magistrates Court which, from 1740 until it's closure in 2006, was the most famous magistrates court in Britain. Being located in central London it was often the first court appearance of infamous criminals and politicians (assuming there is a difference between the two!). Among the famous defendants who have appeared in the dock are Giacomo Casanova, Oscar Wilde, General Pinochet, The Kray Twins and Dr Crippen. The building was supposed to be transformed into a boutique hotel but I don't think it's happened yet. The street is also the location of the magnificent Royal Opera House. The whole area is steeped, or even drenched, in history. 
The Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden
The Bow Street Runners, the first official 'police force' were established there in 1749 by Henry Fielding, the jurist and author of Tom Jones.
As early as 1632 the Drury Lane and Bow Street area became known as 'thieving alley' and, apparently, was increasingly  "Troblinge the adjacent areas... by lewdest Blades and female Naughty-packs" I will draw a veil of modesty over that!
The bow-shaped street was set out in 1637 with high-class housing but after the English civil war many fine houses, formerly owned by Royalists lay empty and the area deteriorated once again. After the Battle of Naseby Oliver Cromwell himself moved to live in Bow Street. After the Restoration (of the Monarchy) it became an area where the literati and low-life criminals intermingled in the newly-established coffee-houses.
Next in this series: Marlborough Street

14 comments:

All Consuming said...

'Naughty-packs' - brilliant. Hahahaha great buildings too :)

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Such beautiful buildings and such interesting stories behind them.

John said...

Every time I hear of the Bow Street Runners I think of the film `Carry on Jack` where the head of the runners was called Captain Fancy, played by Kenneth Williams! Not a classic piece of historical film-making, but pretty funny!
J
Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

klahanie said...

Hey bazza,
Once again, a highly informative posting. I seem to obtain a tad more knowledge almost every time I visit your site. If fact, I 'bow' to your knowledge.
Have a good weekend. Oh great and now I have to prove I'm not a robot. Then again, I might be an android...
Gary

bazza said...

AC: Yes, that made me laugh. I had never heard that expression until I researched this. I might try to introduce it into my everyday speech.

bazza said...

SO,AC: The Royal Opera House is a superb building inside and out!

bazza said...

John: The Carry on team didn't generally worry too much about historical accuracy, did they?

bazza said...

Gary: Has the robot thing just appeared? It's not my doing and I'll try to get rid of it!
Thanks for visiting and enjoy the weekend!

David said...

Hi bazza,
Another very informative post. I knew about Henry Fielding and the police force, but didn't know of the connection with Bow Street. I have, of course, being the highly educated person that I am, read "Tom Jones", so there!
Very Best Wishes and have a great weekend,
David.

Dixie said...

Hi bazza,
Let me see if I get this straight:

Orange is the colour representing unity or humanity. Holding court for the likes of Casanova and Naughty Packs, while down the block, professional musicians and singers perform? I certainly understand now why "What's New Pussycat?" would be such a hit! Lastly, the Royals leave and the property goes to hell. The Royals return and and the place worsens?

All well and good, but I think you should trade or sell off Bow Street. And there you have it; my simplistic American view(smile).

bazza said...

Hi David. Enjoy your weekend too. I didn't know so much about this either until I researched 'Bow Street'!

bazza said...

Dixie: So you don't recommend that I purchase a hotel there? This Monopoly game is more complex than I expected!

Aliza Pershing Krepps said...

Magnificent, but the arrows on my map never bring me to Bow street.

bazza said...

Aliza: It might be a one-way street!