Clare Market

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Houghton St today

Clare Market was an area of London in the parish of St Clement Danes to the west of Lincoln's Inn Fields, between the Strand and Drury Lane, with Vere Street adjoining its western side. It was named after the food market which had been established in Clement's Inn Fields, by John Holles, 2nd Earl of Clare.


Photo from 1901 showing buildings in New Inn Passage, Houghton Street, then called the Clare Market Slum, which was demolished as part of the Kingsway–Aldwych Improvement scheme in 1905.[1]

Clare Market was originally centred on a small market building constructed by Lord Clare in c.1657, but the retail area spread through a maze of narrow interconnecting streets lined by butchers' shops and greengrocers. Butchers would slaughter sheep and cattle for sale. An area was set aside for Jews to slaughter kosher meat. The market mostly sold meat, although fish and vegetables were also sold. An early theatre was in Gibbon's Tennis Court, in the Clare Market area. A club of artists, including William Hogarth, met at the Bull's Head Tavern in the market.

The area was not affected by the Great Fire of London, and the decrepit Elizabethan buildings survived until the area, by then a slum, was redeveloped by the London County Council in around 1900 to create the Aldwych and Kingsway. Parts of the London School of Economics now occupy the site, and the name is commemorated in an academic journal published by the university, entitled The Clare Market Review. Furthermore, Ralf Dahrendorf, the former director of the LSE, chose the title Baron Dahrendorf of Clare Market when he was made a life peer in 1993. One of the main buildings at the centre of the LSE Campus is called the Clare Market Building.


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Coordinates: 51°30′52″N 0°07′02″W / 51.5144°N 0.1172°W / 51.5144; -0.1172