This little courtyard set back from the street has an obscure history, but is thought to have a late medieval origin.

Bartholomew Place seems to start appearing on maps of the area from the 15th century, although as maps weren’t that accurate, some doubt does exist about that.

It certainly appears on a parish map of 1720 with what appear to be three separate section. Horwood’s map of 1799 also shows it, but as Parker’s Yard. The current name, Bartholomew Place turns up in the mid 19th century.

All the present buildings fronting Bartholomew Place date from the later nineteenth or twentieth century. A rather grand looking flag adorning the outside wall belongs to a newer arrival in the City, the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.

Do note the old sign for Francis Polden & Co Ltd., a former electrical firm which was founded by Francis Polden in 1911 and was quite successful. Francis Polden was also an elected City of London official, and one of the compurgators who testified that a certain Mr Winston Churchill was of good character and could be granted the Freedom of the City.

It’s through that gap in the wall that the more interesting buildings are found, for now.

This is because at the turn of the 19th century, a number of buildings were rebuilt as a printing press for the City Press, a weekly newspaper. The industrial building at far end was built between 1900 and 1914, and was probably used as a type-foundry for the newspaper printers next door.

During WW2, the printing presses were destroyed, and lacking any use, the foundry building was leased to a plastics manufacturer. In 2008, permission was given to turn the building into residential flats, but never carried out, until now.

Fresh permission was granted last year to demolish the old light industrial building and replace it with a block of flats. As the area in general is filling up with flats, it’s not entirely surprising that permission was granted, but it will be a loss of a nice bit of industrial heritage in the area.

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