FLEET STREET is a major street in the
City of London
City of London . It runs west
to east from Temple Bar at the boundary with the City of Westminster
Ludgate Circus at the site of the
London Wall and the River Fleet
from which the street was named.
Having been an important through route since Roman times , businesses
were established along the road during the Middle Ages. Senior clergy
Fleet Street during this period where there are several
Temple Church and St Bride\'s .
Fleet Street became
known for printing and publishing at the start of the 16th century and
it became the dominant trade so that by the 20th century most British
national newspapers operated from here. Much of the industry moved out
in the 1980s after
News International set up cheaper manufacturing
Wapping , but some former newspaper buildings are listed
and have been preserved. The term
Fleet Street remains a metonym for
the British national press, and pubs on the street once frequented by
journalists remain popular.
Fleet Street has a significant number of monuments and statues along
its length, including the dragon at Temple Bar and memorials to a
number of figures from the British press, such as
Samuel Pepys and
Lord Northcliffe . The street is mentioned in several works by Charles
Dickens and is where the legendary fictitious murderous barber Sweeney
* 1 Geography
* 2 History
* 2.1 Early history
* 2.2 Printing and journalism
* 2.3 Modern history
* 3 Notable buildings
* 4 Monuments and statues
* 5 Notable residents
* 6 Cultural references
* 7 See also
* 8 References
* 9 Further reading
* 10 External links
Fleet Street road sign. The street numbering runs consecutively
from west to east south-side and then east to west north-side.
Fleet Street is named after the
River Fleet , which runs from
Hampstead to the
River Thames at the western edge of the City of
London . It is one of the oldest roads outside the original city and
was established by the
Middle Ages . In the 13th century, it was
known as Fleet Bridge Street, and in the early 14th century it became
known as Fleet Street.
The street runs east from Temple Bar , the boundary between the
Cities of London and Westminster , as a continuation of the Strand
Trafalgar Square . It crosses
Chancery Lane and
Fetter Lane to
Ludgate Circus by the
London Wall . The road ahead is Ludgate
Hill . The street numbering runs consecutively from west to east
south-side and then east to west north-side. It links the Roman and
medieval boundaries of the City after the latter was extended. The
Fleet Street between Temple Bar and
Fetter Lane is part of
the A4 , a major road running west through London, although it once
ran along the entire street and eastwards past St Paul\'s Churchyard
Cannon Street .
London Underground stations are Temple ,
Chancery Lane ,
and Blackfriars tube/mainline station and the City Thameslink railway
station . London Bus routes 4, 11, 15, 23, 26, 76 and 172 run along
the full length of Fleet Street, while route 341 runs between Temple
Bar and Fetter Lane.
Fleet Street c. 1890
Fleet Street was established as a thoroughfare in Roman London and
there is evidence that a route led west from Ludgate by 200 AD. Local
excavations revealed remains of a Roman amphitheatre near Ludgate on
Fleet Prison , but other accounts suggest the area was too
marshy for regular inhabitation by the Romans. The
Saxons did not
occupy the Roman city but established Lundenwic further west around
what is now
Aldwych and the Strand .
Many prelates lived around the street during the Middle Ages,
including the Bishops of Salisbury and St Davids and the Abbots of
Faversham , Tewkesbury , Winchcombe and Cirencester . Tanning of
animal hides became established on
Fleet Street owing to the nearby
river, though this increased pollution leading to a ban on dumping
rubbish by the mid-14th century. Many taverns and brothels were
Fleet Street and have been documented as early as
the 14th century. Records show that
Geoffrey Chaucer was fined two
shillings for attacking a friar in Fleet Street, though modern
historians believe this is apocryphal.
An important landmark in
Fleet Street during the late
Middle Ages was
a conduit that was the main water supply for the area. When Anne
Boleyn was crowned Queen following her marriage to Henry VIII in 1533,
the conduit flowed wine instead of water. By the 16th century, Fleet
Street, along with much of the City, was chronically overcrowded, and
a Royal proclamation in 1580 banned any further building on the
street. This had little effect, and construction continued,
particularly timber. Prince Henry\'s Room over the
Inner Temple gate
dates from 1610 and is named after
Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales
Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales ,
eldest son of James I , who did not survive to succeed his father.
A blue plaque marking the location of the Anti-Corn Law League
headquarters on No. 67
The eastern part of the street was destroyed by the Great Fire of
London in 1666, despite attempts to use the
River Fleet to preserve
it. Fire damage reached to about
Fetter Lane , and the special
tribunal of the 'Fire Courts' was held at Clifford\'s Inn , an inn of
Chancery at the edge of the extent of the fire, to arbitrate on
claimants' rights. Properties were rebuilt in the same style as
before the fire.
During the early-18th century, a notorious upper-class gang known as
Mohocks operated on the street causing regular violence and
vandalism. Mrs Salmon\'s Waxworks was established at Prince Henry's
Room in 1711. It had a display of macabre and black-humoured exhibits,
including the execution of Charles I ; a Roman lady, Hermonie, whose
father survived a sentence of starvation by sucking her breast; and a
woman who gave birth to 365 children simultaneously. The waxworks were
a favourite haunt of
William Hogarth , and survived into the 19th
century. The Apollo Society, a music club, was established in 1733 by
the at the Devil Tavern on
Fleet Street by composer Maurice Greene .
In 1763, supporters of
John Wilkes , who had been arrested for libel
against the Earl of Bute , burned a jackboot in the centre of the
street in protest against Bute. It led to violent demonstrations and
rioting in 1769 and 1794.
Tanning and other industries declined sharply after the River Fleet
was routed underground in 1766. The street was widened during the
late-19th century, when Temple Bar was demolished and Ludgate Circus
was constructed. The headquarters of the
Anti-Corn Law League
Anti-Corn Law League were
based at No. 67 Fleet Street, and a blue plaque marks the location.
PRINTING AND JOURNALISM
History of British newspapers and List of United Kingdom
newspapers The former offices of
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph at No.
Publishing started in
Fleet Street around 1500 when
William Caxton 's
Wynkyn de Worde
Wynkyn de Worde , set up a printing shop near Shoe Lane,
while at around the same time
Richard Pynson set up as publisher and
printer next to St Dunstan\'s Church . More printers and publishers
followed, mainly supplying the legal trade in the four Inns of Court
around the area, but also publishing books and plays.
In March 1702 the first issue of London's first daily newspaper, the
Daily Courant , was published in Fleet Street. It was followed by the
Morning Chronicle . The publisher John Murray was founded at No. 32
Fleet Street in 1762 and remained there until 1812, when it moved to
Albemarle Street. The popularity of newspapers was restricted due to
various taxes during the early 19th century, particularly paper duty.
Peele's Coffee-House at No. 177–8
Fleet Street became popular and
was the main committee room for the Society for Repealing the Paper
Duty, starting in 1858. The society was successful and the duty was
abolished in 1861. Along with the repeal of the newspaper tax in 1855,
this led to a dramatic expansion of newspaper production in Fleet
Street. The "penny press" (newspapers costing one penny ) became
popular during the 1880s and the initial number of titles had
consolidated into a few nationally important ones.
By the 20th century
Fleet Street and the area surrounding it were
dominated by the national press and related industries. The Daily
Express relocated to No. 121–8
Fleet Street in 1931, into a building
designed by Sir Owen Williams . It was the first curtain wall building
in London. It has survived the departure of the newspaper in 1989 and
was restored in 2001.
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph was based at No. 135–142.
These premises are both Grade II Listed . In the 1930s, No. 67 housed
25 separate publications; by this time the majority of British
households bought a daily paper produced from Fleet Street.
News International owner
Rupert Murdoch caused controversy
when he moved publication of
The Times and The Sun away from Fleet
Street to new premises in
East London . Murdoch believed it
was impossible to produce a newspaper profitably on
Fleet Street and
the power of the print unions, the National Graphical Association
(NGA) and the
Society of Graphical and Allied Trades
Society of Graphical and Allied Trades (SOGAT), was too
strong (an opinion endorsed by the Prime Minister , Margaret Thatcher
Fleet Street print staff were sacked and new staff from the
Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union were
brought in to operate the presses at
Wapping using modern
computer-operated technology, rendering the power of the old unions
obsolete. The resulting
Wapping dispute featured violent protests at
Fleet Street and
Wapping that lasted over a year, but ultimately other
publishers followed suit and moved out of
Fleet Street towards Canary
Reuters was the last major news outlet to leave
Fleet Street in 2005. The same year,
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph and Sunday
Telegraph announced they were returning to the centre of London from
Canary Wharf to new premises in Victoria in 2006.
Some publishers have remained on Fleet Street. The London office of
D.C. Thomson ">
Fleet Street pictured in 1953, with flags hung for
the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II .
Despite the domination of the print industry, other businesses were
also established on Fleet Street.
The Automobile Association
The Automobile Association was
established at No. 18
Fleet Street in 1905. Since the post-Wapping
Fleet Street is now more associated with the investment
banking, legal and accountancy professions. For example, The Inns of
Court and barristers' chambers are down alleys and around courtyards
Fleet Street itself and many of the old newspaper offices have
become the London headquarters for various companies; e.g. Goldman
Sachs is in the old Daily Telegraph and Liverpool Echo buildings of
Peterborough Court and Mersey House.
C. Hoare & Co , England's oldest privately owned bank, has been
Fleet Street since 1672. Child ">
St-Dunstan-in-the-West on Fleet Street, pictured in 1842
In the High
Middle Ages senior clergymen had their London palaces in
the street. Place-names surviving with this connection are
Peterborough Court and Salisbury Court after their respective Bishops'
houses here; apart from the Knights Templars' establishment the
Whitefriars monastery is recalled by Whitefriars Street and the
remains of its undercroft have been preserved in a public display
area. A Carmelite church was established on
Fleet Street in 1253, but
it was destroyed during the Reformation in 1545.
Today three churches serve the spiritual needs of the three
'communities' associated with the area of the street. Temple Church
was built by the
Knights Templar in 1162 and serves the Legal
profession. St Bride\'s Church was established as early as the 6th
century and was later designed by Sir
Christopher Wren in a style
St Mary Le Bow further east in the City. It remains
the London church most associated with the print industry. St
Dunstan-in-the-West also dates from the 12th century supplements these
as the local parish (as opposed to guild church) and is the London
home for the
Russian Orthodox church.
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
To the south lies an area of legal buildings known as the Temple ,
formerly the property of the
Knights Templar , which at its core
includes two of the four
Inns of Court
Inns of Court : the
Inner Temple and the
Middle Temple . There are many lawyers' offices (especially barristers
' chambers) in the vicinity. To the west, at the junction with Strand
Royal Courts of Justice
Royal Courts of Justice whilst at the eastern end of the
Old Bailey is near Ludgate Circus.
As a principal route leading to and from the City,
Fleet Street was
especially noted for its taverns and coffeehouses. Many notable
persons of literary and political fame such as Samuel Johnson
frequented these, and journalists would regularly meet in pubs to
collect stories. Some, such as
Ye Olde Cock Tavern at No. 22 and Ye
Olde Cheshire Cheese at No. 145, have survived to the 21st century and
are Grade II listed. The El Vino\'s wine bar moved to No. 47 in 1923,
quickly becoming popular with lawyers and journalists. Women were not
allowed in the bar until 1982, and then only because of a court order.
Since 1971, the southern side of the street has been part of the
Fleet Street Conservation Area, which ensures buildings are regularly
maintained and the character of the street is preserved. The area
expanded to the north side in 1981.
MONUMENTS AND STATUES
The Temple Bar Marker , one of the boundary markers of the City
The area around
Fleet Street contains numerous statues and memorials
to prominent public figures. At the north-eastern corner is a bust of
Edgar Wallace , and a full-length representation of Mary, Queen of
Scots in a first-floor niche at No. 143–144 by John Tollemache
Sinclair . Above the entrance to the old school-house of St Dunstan's
is a statue of
Queen Elizabeth I provided for the then new Ludgate in
1586 by William Kerwin; it was moved to here following the gate's
demolition in 1776. Adjacent to this is a bust of
Lord Northcliffe ,
the newspaper proprietor, co-founder of the
Daily Mail and the Daily
Mirror . At No. 72 is a bust of the Irish journalist and MP TP
O\'Connor , constructed in 1934 by F. W. Doyle-Jones.
On the southern side of the street nearby memorials and monuments
include the Temple Bar . The current Temple Bar marker was designed by
Sir Horace Jones in 1880 following the demolition of the older bar.
Inner Temple Gardens is a memorial to
Charles Lamb . In
Salisbury Square there is an obelisk commemorating
Robert Waithman ,
mayor of London between 1823 and 1833, and a blue plaque
commemorating the birthplace of diarist and naval secretary Samuel
Several writers and politicians are associated with Fleet Street,
either as residents or regulars to the various taverns, including Ben
John Milton ,
Izaak Walton ,
John Dryden ,
Edmund Burke ,
Oliver Goldsmith and
Charles Lamb . The lexicographer Samuel Johnson
lived at Gough Square off
Fleet Street between 1748 and 1759; the
building has survived into the 21st century. The cartographer John
Senex owned a map store, The Sign of the Globe, on Fleet Street
between 1725 and his death in 1736.
Wynkyn de Worde
Wynkyn de Worde was buried in St.
Bride's Church in 1535, as was poet
Richard Lovelace in 1657, while
Samuel Pepys was baptised there in 1633.
Royal Society was based in Crane Court from 1710 to 1782, when it
Somerset House on the Strand.
The administrative headquarters of the London Court of International
Arbitration (LCIA) are merely based
Sweeney Todd is traditionally said to have lived and
Fleet Street in the 18th century, where he would murder
customers and serve their remains as pie fillings. An urban myth
example of a serial killer , the character appears in various English
language works starting in the mid-19th century. Adaptations of the
story include the 1936 George King film , the 1979 Stephen Sondheim
musical , and the 2007
Tim Burton film based on the musical, all
titled Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Fleet Street is mentioned in several of
Charles Dickens ' works. The
eponymous club in
The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club , more
commonly known as The Pickwick Papers, is set in the street, as is
Tellson's Bank In
A Tale of Two Cities
A Tale of Two Cities . The poet John Davidson wrote
two works in the late 19th century titled the
Fleet Street Eclogues .
Arthur Ransome has a chapter in his
Bohemia in London (1907) about
earlier inhabitants of the street: Ben Jonson, the Doctor (Samuel
Johnson), Coleridge, Hazlitt and Lamb; and about Temple Bar and the
Fleet Street is a square on the British Monopoly board, in a group
with the Strand and Trafalgar Square. One of the Chance cards in the
game, "You Have Won A Crossword Competition, collect £100" was
inspired by rival competitions and promotions between Fleet
Street-based newspapers in 1930s, particularly the
Daily Mail and
The Printworks ,
Fleet Street of the North
Holborn , with a description of the surrounding area
Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg in Delhi, known as the
Fleet Street of
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