Cloth Fair

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Cloth Fair
Cloth Fair 20130324 153.jpg
The oldest residential dwelling in London (numbers 41 and 42)
Type Residential street
Length 150 yards
Postal code EC1
Nearest Tube station London Underground Barbican
Coordinates Coordinates: 51°31′7.92″N 0°05′58.77″W / 51.5188667°N 0.0996583°W / 51.5188667; -0.0996583
Southwest end Little Britain
Northeast end Middle Street
Known for Medieval cloth market

Cloth Fair is a street in the City of London where, in medieval times, merchants gathered to buy and sell material during the Bartholomew Fair. Today, it is a short residential street to the east of Smithfield in the north-western part of the City and is located in the ward of Farringdon Within.

The street runs southwest to northeast from Little Britain, the very start of the A1 road, the country's longest named road, parallel to Long Lane to the north and bordered by the Anglican church[1] of St. Bartholomew-the-Great[2] to the south, until it merges with Middle Street some 150 yards later.[3]

Blue plaque marking the entrance to John Betjeman's home on Cloth Fair

The street was originally within the precincts of the Priory of St. Bartholomew's, and until 1910 formed a separate liberty, with gates that were shut at night. Such a small area could not meet the demands of installing street lighting and sewers, and rejoined the City. The area has a rich history,[4] a colourful past[5] and proud literary tradition.[6] It contains within its boundaries the oldest residential dwelling in London (numbers 41 and 42),[7] a pair of properties administered by the Landmark Trust,[8][9] one of them the former home of English poet John Betjeman,[10] who gave his name to a restaurant on the ground floor.[11]

The nearest London Underground station is Barbican (Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines) and the closest mainline railway station is Farringdon.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Parish web site
  2. ^ "18 views of the Ancient Priory Church of St Bartholemew the Great" (15th Edition,rev) Webb,E.A (Freeman Dovaston London, 1922)
  3. ^ Based on measurement using Ordnance Survey (1:2500) 1940 L.C.C revision Sheet 62
  4. ^ History of Smithfields Archived March 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ 18th Century Crime Scene Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ It was immortalised in a story in The Gentleman's Magazine(Details of Publication[permanent dead link]) illustrated by Phiz
  7. ^ "City of London:A History" Borer,M.A. (Constable & Co Ltd, London, 1977) ISBN 0-09-461880-1
  8. ^ 43 Cloth Fair
  9. ^ 45a Cloth Fair
  10. ^ "John Betjeman" Hillier,B. (John Murray,London,2007) ISBN 978-0-7195-6444-4
  11. ^ Betjeman’s Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]