This charming little alley is notable for the main feature that dominates the entire of one side, an old pub, which holds the oldest excise license in the City.

Said to hold the oldest excise license in the City, what is today the Williamson’s Tavern was originally a residence for the Lord Mayors of London, and William III and Mary dined here.

Although the current pub was rebuilt in the 1930s, the original old pub was a private home built in 1667 on land formerly occupied by Sir John Fastolf, of hundred years war and Shakespeare fame.

Built as the official residence for the Lord Mayor, it was eventually sold when the Lord Mayor moved to Mansion House, and became a hotel.

It remained a hotel until just before the first world war, when the final member of the Williamson family died, and it was sold and converted into a tavern.

The tavern was rebuilt in the 1930s, at which time Roman bricks were found in the basement, and were reused in the fireplace.

It’s claimed that the pub also marks the centre of the City of London, although that’s an unsubstantiated claim.

The alley itself is narrow and approached through a covered walkway with an old style City of London street sign.

The ornate gates at the far end of the alleyway were a gift from William and Mary as a thank-you to the Lord Mayor for his hospitality when they stayed in the home.

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2 comments on “London’s Alleys – Groveland Court, EC4
  1. John Simmons says:

    Another fascinating alley that’s joined some of the others on my “Must Visit” list.

    However, you have a typo: it should be “Sir John Falstaff”.

    • Jonalot says:

      No typo – Ian knows what’s what ! Sir John Fastolf is an historical character – Sir John Falstaff is a fictional character invented by you know who, perhaps with a backward glance to the historical chap.

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