Houndsditch is a one-way street in
London linking Outwich Street in
the north-west to St. Botolph Street in the south-east. It runs
through parts of the
Bishopsgate Without wards of the
City of London, the historic nucleus and modern financial centre of
London. It marks the route of an old ditch that ran outside a part of
London Wall, renowned for being used as a site for disposing of
waste and, particularly, deceased dogs.
The road forms part of the A1211 route from Barbican to Whitechapel.
Traffic continues onto
Houndsditch from Outwich Street, a short
section of road behind the Heron Tower, and then enters St. Botolph
Street at the south-eastern end of Houndsditch. From there, traffic
may turn left onto
Whitechapel High Street or right onto Aldgate High
1872 engraving of
Houndsditch by Gustave Doré
A ditch was dug outside Londinium's defensive wall by the Romans but
was subsequently filled in and obliterated. The Danes under Cnut the
Great constructed a town ditch to control access to the city. The
ditch was redug in 1211 as a part of the defences, and was about 75
feet (23 m) in width. The city authorities found it a continual
problem to scour and clean as many adjacent houses found it a
convenient place to dispose of filth and refuse. In 1595, levelling
was first considered, although the street running alongside the
ditch had first been paved in 1503. The name Houndsditche appears in
the 13th century, and seems to relate to the quantity of rubbish and
dead dogs thrown into it; previously it seems to have been referred
to only by the appellation "the Ditch". Several dogs' skeletons were
Houndsditch in 1989.
By the turn of the 20th century, the street had become a thriving
market in clothing and novelties, giving rise to one of London's
leading department stores, the
Houndsditch Warehouse, dubbed the
"Selfridges of the Jewish Quarter".
In December 1910, anarchists killed three police officers who had
interrupted them during an attempted burglary at a jeweller's shop at
No. 119, Houndsditch. In January 1911, two of the gang were cornered
and killed in the Siege of Sidney Street.
Approaching Bishopsgate, the modern office blocks do not occupy the
full building plots, leaving some small areas empty. These were
historically the sites of Plague pits.
Traffic flows one-way south-eastward from Outwich Street down the
modern Houndsditch, which continues onto St. Botolph Street,
connecting to either Aldgate High Street (west) or
Street (east). The street is the location of a number of restaurants,
bars and offices, and a short pedestrianised section of it runs along
the north side of the Heron Tower, the tallest building in the City of
London Underground station is Aldgate and the closest
mainline railway station is Liverpool Street. The street is served by
London Buses routes 42, 78, 100, 135, and 205.
^ The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles Earle and Plummer
^ Horsmylle (le) - Hucker's Court, St. Nicholas Lane A Dictionary of
London (1918) accessed: 28 May 2008.
^ Stow (ibid)
^ "Houndsditch". Hidden-london.com.
^ "People outside Isidore Grunhaus Shop". Retrieved 15 April
^ "Stoney Lane elevation". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
Retrieved 15 April 2015.
^ "Houndsditch, City of London". Hidden-london.com. Retrieved 15 April
Coordinates: 51°30′55″N 0°04′43″W / 51.5153°N