A picturesque alley that’s lined with ancient shops and inns, and within staggering distance of royal palaces and posh clubs.

Crown Passage appears to have been built sometime before 1673, when King Street to the north was laid out and started appearing in rate books of the time. The reason for the passage seems to be to hide some of the smaller trades from the posher eyes of people buying up grand homes in the area.

It also served as the main route between King Street and Pall Mall at a time when King Street didn’t run all the way to St James’s Street.

Crown Passage has also had a number of different names over the years, depending on which map you choose to look at.

Crown Passage is marked on Ogilby and Morgan’s map of 1681 as Golden Lion Court, on Blome’s of 1689 as Crown Court, and on Rocque’s of 1746 as Old Pav’d Alley; Zachary Chambers’s map of 1769  marks the south end as Old Pav’d Alley and the north end as Crown Court.

All very confusing!

Apart from its own unique charm, and still being lit by gas lamps, the alleyway is noted for several fine shops, and a Pret, but mostly for the Red Lion pub.

The Red Lion is a  black timber-fronted pub that has been there for more than 400 years and has the second oldest beer licence in London. There is rumoured to be a tunnel from the beer cellar to St James’s Palace which was used by Nell Gwynne to allow her discrete liaisons with King Charles II. Obviously, like all good rumours, it’s not true.

Further up is Davy’s, which on my visit was showing the signs of a good night’s business in the huge pile of empty wine bottles waiting to be taken away.

NEWSLETTER

Be the first to know what's on in London, and the latest news published on ianVisits.

You can unsubscribe at any time from my weekly emails.

Tagged with: ,
SUPPORT THIS WEBSITE

This website has been running now for just over a decade, and while advertising revenue contributes to funding the website, but doesn't cover the costs. That is why I have set up a facility with DonorBox where you can contribute to the costs of the website and time invested in writing and research for the news articles.

It's very similar to the way The Guardian and many smaller websites are now seeking to generate an income in the face of rising costs and declining advertising.

Whether its a one-off donation or a regular giver, every additional support goes a long way to covering the running costs of this website, and keeping you regularly topped up doses of Londony news and facts.

If you like what your read on here, then please support the website here.

Thank you

One comment
  1. Jennifer says:

    I really want an Ian Visits app for stuff like this! I was at the ICA the other week and if I’d know this ally was round the corner, I could have stopped by. I wander a lot but would love to be able to check in to see your mapped recommendations/highlights. Also like that this is an alley outside of the City. 🙂

Home >> News >> London's Alleys and Passages