This narrow alley sits next to Pudding Lane, famed for the Great Fire of London, and can trace its origins to the very first buildings erected here in Tudor London.

The alley, although known today as St George’s Lane, was originally plain George Lane, and is named after St George Botolph Lane that used to sit on the southeastern corner of the alley, but was demolished in 1904.

There had been a church on the site since at least 1180, and it was the only church in the City of London dedicated to St George of Cappadocia, the patron saint of England. Being right next to the starting point of the Great Fire of London, it was unsurprisingly utterly destroyed in 1666. A replacement church, built from the rubble of old St Paul’s Cathedral, but over time, as with many City churches, it ceased to be a busy church and was eventually found to be suffering structural failure in 1900. It was closed in 1901 and demolished in 1904.

Although the alley is dominated by the brutalist structure on the southern side, the usual excuse for such a building, being WW2 damage actually happened on the northern side of the alley.

The brutalist building is Faryners House by Richard Seifert and was built in 1971-3, and was the result of a developer buying up the smaller buildings on the plot and demolishing the whole site to create space for the current office block. The building is named after Thomas Farriner, the baker who is accused — but never fully proven — to have started the Great Fire of London.

The northwestern side is a building dating from the 1950s which was erected on the site of a large bomb site that had pretty much destroyed all the buildings up to Eastcheap. The main building occupying the plot though dates from the 1980s, with its classic of the era dark marble cladding and small windows.

It’s otherwise an unremarkable passageway, a relic of ancient times surrounded by 1970s/80s offices.

A final note, puddings.

The great fire of London started in a bakery on Pudding Lane, but pudding is not a reference to baked goods. At the time, puddings was the name given to the unwanted offal from cattle markets and was often taken to the river to be removed as waste along a road that became known as Pudding Lane.

So Pudding Lane was far more famous for dead meat than baked pies.

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2 comments
  1. Melvyn says:

    Your description of puddings makes one wonder if steak and kidney pudding is derived from poor people making good use of the unwanted offal !

    • ianVisits says:

      Not explicitly as puddings were popular across all the classes, but it’s a way of using as much of the animal as possible. Sausages, pies, puddings, are all a way of using meat that isn’t suitable to be a presentation steak on the plate.

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