This is an alley in central London that’s not named after the sort of gutter you’re thinking about. It first appears in the 1180s as Godrun Lane, the lane of a person called Guthrún (or Goderoune, or Guthrum), a wealthy merchant, and the name of the lane slowly transformed into Gutter Lane by the 15th century.

So nothing to do with gutters as we know them.

Robsons street directory of 1832 shows that Gutter Lane was lined with a lot of trades mainly dominated by clothes and shoe manufacturers and warehouses. Unfortunately, the whole area was pretty much flattened during WW2, so hardly anything from before the 1940s survived.

One of the largest and longest occupants of Gutter Lane though is Saddlers’ Hall, home to the Worshipful Company of Saddlers, one of the older of the City’s Livery Companies, and is thought to have been on this site since 1160, when a document records an agreement between the Church and the Guild of Saddlers.

Destroyed by the Great Fire of London and then bombed during the Blitz, the original Saddlers’ Hall dates back to the 14th Century and has been rebuilt several times.

The current livery hall was rebuilt following WWII in a slightly different location, but still within its ancient property boundaries, and is now a grand hall with an entrance hidden around the back of the building in a pleasing open space. Do notice the bollards on the road though – with their horse’s heads.

A tale that’s often told, and may or may not be entirely correct is that the American accounting firm, Coopers & Lybrand (now PWC), used to be based on Gutter Lane and to make their 50th anniversary of being based on Gutter Lane had asked the City of London to rename Gutter Lane as Coopers Lane.

A request that reputedly received a frosty response.

More recently, when Abacus House, formerly Broderers’ Hall, was rebuilt in the 1980s, a large Roman mosaic was uncovered during the clearance works, along with a section of Roman Road, thought to lead to Cripplegate fort.

These days, Gutter Lane starts as a narrow gap between the Goldsmiths and Wax Chandlers livery halls, but quickly opens up to a wide two lane road that passes down to Cheapside between modern offices that filled the space created by the WWII bombs.

This wide space is hidden from busy Cheapside though as the lane narrows once again so people walking past may never realise there’s a fairly wide road behind.


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  1. James Watters says:

    I worked at Stephenson Harwood’s offices at Saddlers’ Hall in Gutter Lane for some years in the 1970’s. The Coopers story was in circulation there at the time on the basis that the firm had asked SH for support in its proposal to the City. Coopers was known as Cooper Brothers at the time (changing its name to Coopers & Lybrand in 1973) and the supposed SH response was to ask whether Coopers had considered changing its name to Gutter Brothers.

  2. David Hall says:

    Love your alleyway visits -inspirational ❤️

  3. SteveP says:

    Did you see anyone famous there? You know – in the Gutter, looking at the stars…

  4. John Pittman says:

    The “frosty comment” goes back to the days Of Cooper Brothers; the City’s reply apparently was, ” sorry we can’t help, perhaps you could change your name to Gutter Brothers”.

  5. johnb78 says:

    Just to add further accounting pedantry, Cooper Brothers was founded in London in 1854 – it was never an American firm. It formed an alliance with Lybrand of the US in the early postwar era, and changed its name to Coopers & Lybrand in 1973.

  6. Arnie says:

    There was a lovely restaurant there called The Baron of Beef,the meat purchased daily from Smithfield. My first visit was in ’69,the second in the nineties. Happy times!

    • Patricia says:

      When I was much younger my first job was at Myers and Co, 9th floor, The Stock Exchange. Someone who was to become a lifelong friend (who also worked at Myers) took me to the Baron of Beef. I remember being given a bunch of violets on a velvet cushion and the menu for women didn’t have any prices. The food was amazing.

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