If you were to head up Tottenham Court Road towards Warren Street tube station, you might notice a small alley way.


Alleys often have historical links, and this is no exception, showing up on old maps dating back to at least the early 18th century, although with a different name.

The alley was originally known as Holbrook Buildings, but in 1875 the buildings may have been cleared and the modern Fitzroy Court built.

The court was probably named after the Fitzroy Market, which were a number of small and dark tenements in the area – it was their clearance that gave rise to the replacement building.

What makes the alley worth a quick detour though are the lights.

Held up by decorative beams, these are more substantial than most alleys would usually have, and could well date back to the time of its construction, when gas lighting might have been deployed.

Sadly, the entire area is covered in the most unpleasant of anti-pigeon netting, although as it is surrounded by food outlets, they are probably essential.


More curious though is this odd looking door and brick arches. Quite why it’s here is a mystery.



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  1. Diane Burstein says:

    I worked near here in the early 80 and this doorway was the entrance to Warrens winebar, a favourite place for after work drinks!

  2. M@ says:

    Ha, just when I was considering reviving Londonist’s Back Passage.

  3. Greg says:

    Surprised anyone could have taken the lights and their supports for original – these are 1970’s-ish “mock Victorian” style welded steel frames, made up from standard tube and bar. Probably from a refurbishment at that time, and the doorway and arches look like they might have been from a “mock rustic” frontage of the same period – it looks very like the sort of thing that small nightclubs used to go for as their street entrance in that time. I’d say that everything below the first floor windows probably belongs to that era. If the lighting had been original the supports would have almost certainly been cast iron, the structural framework of choice in the 1870’s.

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