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Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Chancery Lane, London

CHANCERY LANE is an historic short street in London which runs from Fleet Street at its southern end to High Holborn in the north. It is situated in the ward of Farringdon Without (which means ‘outside of’ the City of London). Since 1994 it has formed part of the western boundary of the City. The route was originally created by the Knights Templar sometime before 1161AD. It provided a route for them to access their newly-acquired property in The Temple from their location in Holborn.
Lincoln's Inn Fields
It originally was called New Lane but it later became known by its present name because the historic High Court of Chancery was established there soon afterwards. It has a long association with the legal profession. A British barrister has to belong to one of the four remaining Inns of Court. Inner Temple is just south of Fleet Street and Lincoln’s Inn forms much of the western side of Chancery Lane. Many of the small roads and alleys leading off the street have names that reflect that history. For example Carey Street, formerly the location of the Bankruptcy Court; the euphemism ‘on Carey Street’ means ‘to be bankrupt’, Rolls Buildings and Cursitor Alley.
Lincoln Inn Fields is the largest public square in London, laid out in 1630. Parts of the film Tom Jones were made there. It’s a real step into history and an oasis in central London.
On the eastern side of the street King Henry III established a Domus Conversorum in the 13th century. That was a residence and chapel for Jews who had converted to Christianity. That would have been the only legal way they could stay in England at that time.
The Domus Conversorum
The Public Records Office was formerly in Chancery Lane but is now in near Kew Gardens, well away from Central London and the Patents Offices was also in Chancery Lane. The London Silver Vaults are still there – an underground, highly secure location and storage place, which is open to the public with 30 retailers having their businesses there.
By the 1770s the lane had taken on a decidedly urban character and it retains many Georgian buildings, which form part of the Chancery Lane conservation area. With the steady rise of the legal profession, solicitors took premises here, as did suppliers such as wig makers, strongbox makers, law stationers and booksellers.
The Law Society of England and Wales, the controlling body of the Legal Profession, is headquartered at 113 Chancery Lane. Chancery Lane is also home to the Official Solicitor and Public Trustee.
The London Silver Vaults
Chancery Lane Underground station is home to one of eight deep-level air raid shelters built to protect government staff and equipment during the Second World War. After the war, the shelter was converted to become Kingsway telephone exchange, equipped for cold war disasters with six weeks food supply, an artesian well, a games room and the country's deepest licensed bar.
It is a short road (about 350 metres) but is packed full of history
Old shop-front in Chancery Lane
I'm listening to the Tango in D Major by Isaac Albeniz. This a very versatile piece of music that works with piano, guitar, violin or full orchestra. I'm a sucker for any version! Listen here.


Parnassus said...

Hello Bazza, All this on one short street. I really need to revisit England and O.D. on London history.

Hels said...

A million years ago, when I changed careers in mid life, I wrote my art history thesis on Huguenot Silver Art. The London Silver Vaults were commercial of course, but they were very prepared to have scholarly conversations with me about my beloved Huguenot communities in England and their decorative arts.

bazza said...

Jim: You had better put a couple of months aside! London has an embarrassment of fascinating history!

bazza said...

Hels: I walked past there every day going to my first job in Cursitor Street. Never seen inside it though. It was only years later that I discovered that retailers operated there!

Sherry Ellis said...

Thanks for this history. I vaguely recall seeing Chancery Lane when I visited London many years ago.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

London has done a fabulous job of preserving her history. Then again, I suppose most of Europe has. The U.S. is but a toddler in comparison, but preservation has too often taken a back seat to so-called "progress."

bazza said...

Sherry: It's not a long road but has lots of history attached to it.

bazza said...

Susan: Italy has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to ancient buildings from Romans to the Renaissance but we don't do too badly!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bazza - late ... but I've spent a lot of time in and around Chancery Lane - still my knowledge is limited ... and I've yet to visit the Silver Vaults - one day! I'd love to see the The Domus Conversorum too - looks amazing ... thanks for the information - cheers Hilary

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