This rather unimpressive dead end alley is a legacy of ancient times, from when Andrewes Crosse Inn stood on the site, and this alley is likely to have been the courtyard that stood within the inn’s grounds.
It’s always been a sealed courtyard with a small entrance onto what was then called Chaunceler Lane (Chancery Lane).
When the inn finally closed, the area was known either as Crown Court, but may have always been known as Andrews Crosse, as it shows up as that in the 1600s, but it seems that Crown Court became the favoured name from the 17th century onwards until just after WW2, when it was formally renamed as Andrews Crosse.
The entrance today from Chancery Lane passes under a building that’s a late 1980s rebuild, and more recently joined to its neighbours behind the facade into one big block of residential flats.
A long covered passage leads to the courtyard behind.
Today the space is a lightwell and utilities access for the buildings that surround it, but it was once a place people came to work — there was a book binders in here, and a number of other unnamed trades surrounded the courtyard.
All swept away in the 20th century as the buildings were merged behind their facades into larger blocks. A rather nice old iron spiral staircase is in one corner, and on my visit long after Father Christmas had hung up his stockings, a very dead Christmas tree.
There is an application for public realm improvement works including new paving, planting and seating areas, but at the moment, it’s a rather desolate space and rather appropriate for a dead tree.
Article last updated on September 8th, 2021 at 12:21 pm