This is a very modern looking, and very modern existing alley that can be found opposite the former NatWest Tower, now Tower 42.

This patch of London sits within lands once owned by the Austin Friars, and the alley entirely by coincidence happens to align with the gate in the monastry walls that used to let people inside the site.

After the disolution of the monastry, the land was sold and redeveloped, and that gate is likely to have vanished as the area shows up on R Horwood’s map of 1799 as not having a gap between the buildings. After that the area seemed to be fairly uneventful, going to redevelopement after another as smaller houses merged into offices then large banking rooms.

A passageway appeared nearly in the early 20th-century, but was about 10 metres to the north of where Pinner’s Passage is today. It didn’t last long though, and was gone by the 1950s.

The current office block that sits above the passageway dates from the late-1990s when three buildings were demoilished and rebuilt to create a larger single site, and that’s when Pinner’s Passage appeared.

It’s basically a brand new alley that’s not much more than 20 years old.

Although the building it passes through is new, the alley has a kink and a strange hump in the middle as if there’s something in the basement that simply couldn’t be removed.

It’s rather blanly corporate, and what I thought was an art effect through frosted glass turned out to be plants in the bar on the other side.

The name, Pinner’s Passage comes from the nearby Pinner’s Hall, which sits on land that used to be owned by the Worshipful Company of Pinmakers, a long defunct livery company.

The Livery company was modest and no-one seems sure, but seemed to die out around the turn of the 1800s. In a way, it has more visibility today with a big office block and an alley than it ever had when it was functioning.

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One comment
  1. Chris Rogers says:

    Ian you might do a piece on Pinners Hall itself because if you go inside and ask nicely you might be able to see the vast internal waterfall, planted terraces and greenery that fills the entire centre of the building and goes up in steps for half a dozen floors.

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