One New Change

 Did you know?

  • Cheapside is home to the church of St. Mary Le Bow, which has played a part in London’s cockney heritage. It is said that a true Londoner must be born within earshot of the Bow bells ringing
  • In the nursery rhyme, ‘Oranges and Lemons’ chanted by children for over 300 years, it was the “great bells of Bow,” which were said to be those that Dick Whittington heard in Highgate as he was leaving London. They told him to “turn around Dick Whittington, Lord Mayor of London” 
  • By the 16th century, the English antiquarian John Stow documented both the production and retailing of silk here: “There were more silk shops in Cheapside during the latter years of Elizabeth than there had formerly been in all England” 
  • Bread Street is the birthplace of 17th century English poet John Milton (Paradise Lost) 
  • Geoffrey Chaucer grew up around Cheapside and there are a scattering of references to the thoroughfare and its environs throughout his work 
  • In 1797 William Wordsworth was inspired to write a poem about the tree on the corner of Wood Street and Cheapside, in which the earliest City documents describe it as “ancient” – it remains there to this day 
  • When Charlotte Brontë arrived for the first time in the City of London she professed herself to be “deeply excited.” The West End “amused” her but the City “seems so much more earnest” 
  • In the 1951 tale of Dr Doolittle, there was a cockney sparrow called Cheapside who visits to give the doctor news and tell stories 
  • Historically, the Lord Mayor of the City of London travelled by river each year to Westminster to swear allegiance to the crown (the origin of today’s Lord Mayor's Show). Nowadays, he travels by road, but it was these river journeys that gave birth to the word “float” which describes vehicles in parades and shows today 
  • Until comparatively recent boundary changes, the City had no roads – none of its highways or byways use the word “road” within their names. Even now, with the exception of Goswell Road, all thoroughfares in the City use "street", "lane", "gate", "wall" or some other word. The reason is thought by some to be that – as the old definition of a road was “a way between places” and the City is at the heart of the capital (and thus our nation) – it is not "between" anywhere but the at the start or end of any journey 
  • It is illegal for a cab in the City of London to carry rabid dogs or corpses. 
  • Until 1835 anyone who carried a trade in the City of London had to be a free man 
  • City of London free men are allowed to take a flock of sheep across London Bridge without being charged a toll, to drive geese down Cheapside, have immunity from press ganging, can get married in St Pauls and will not be arrested if found drunk and disorderly. 
  • Located in Fleet Street, El Vino bar on Fleet Street - reputedly the bar on which Rumpole of the Bailey’s favourite watering hole is based – upheld a law until 1983 that ladies were not allowed to stand and be served (they could be served while being seated, but only men could stand at the bar).