Poultry, London

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Poultry
Poultry, London.jpg
Looking east down Poultry toward Bank junction in 2009
Length 110 m (360 ft)
Location London, United Kingdom
West end Cheapside
East end Mansion House Street

Poultry is a short street in the City of London, the historic nucleus and modern financial centre of London. It is an eastern continuation of Cheapside, between Old Jewry and Mansion House Street, towards Bank junction.

Etymology[edit]

Poultry takes its name, like other roads nearby such as Milk Street and Bread Street, from the various produce once sold at Cheapside (meaning "market-place" in Old English). John Stow, writing at the end of the 16th century noted that "the poulterers are but lately departed from thence into other streets".[1]

History[edit]

In the 15th and early 17th century, Poultry was noted for its taverns, but few were rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666.[2]

The church of St Mildred Poultry once stood on the north side of the street. Rebuilt after the Great Fire to the designs of Sir Christopher Wren, it was demolished in 1872[3] and its site sold and used to build the Gresham Life Assurance office.[2] In 1891, Henry B. Wheatley wrote that, with the removal of the church,

"the clearing away of the old houses on both sides of the way, and the erection in their place of large blocks of offices and shops of considerable architectural pretensions, and the general widening of the thoroughfare, the Poultry has since 1850 been entirely changed in character and aspect.[4]

The street gave its name to a prison, Poultry Compter, once located there. It was a brick building with fifteen wards, one of which was set aside specifically for Jews. It was closed in the early 19th century, and its prisoners transferred to the new White Cross Street Compter.[5]

Notable buildings[edit]

Although relatively short in length, Poultry is the location of a number of notable buildings. No 1 Poultry is a postmodern office and retail building which is home to the Coq d'Argent restaurant, which includes a rooftop terrace and formal garden. A small lane off Poultry, Grocers' Hall Court, leads to the livery hall of the Worshipful Company of Grocers, one of the City's original twelve great livery companies that ranks second in the companies' order of precedence. The main entrance to the hall is on Princes Street to the north.

At 27-35 Poultry is the old headquarters of Midland Bank, a Grade I listed building. It was used as the "secret location" for the filming set for the week-long Channel 4 television show The Bank Job, broadcast in 2012. The set was made to look like a real bank vault with a cage and large metal vault door, although on closer inspection there was a lot of MDF, the door was mainly wooden, and the "marble" stairs that lead up to the vault were also wood, painted to look like marble.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Quoted in Wheatley 1891, Volume 3, p.116
  2. ^ a b Wheatley 1891, Volume 3,p.116
  3. ^ Wheatley 1891, Volume 2, p.540
  4. ^ Wheatley 1891, Volume 3, p.117
  5. ^ Wheatley 1891, Volume 3, pp.117 and 502

Sources[edit]

  • Wheatley, Henry B. (1891). London Past and Present: Its History, Associations and Traditions 3. London: John Murray. * Google Maps