The name is derived from the abbey of the Minoresses of St. Mary of the Order of St. Clare, founded in 1294, which stood on such sites; a "minoress" was a nun in the Second Order of the Order of Friars Minor (or Franciscans). (A small side-road off Minories is named St. Clare Street.) The name can also be found in other English towns including Birmingham, Colchester, Newcastle upon Tyne and Stratford-upon-Avon.
In September 2013, an extremely well preserved Roman statue of an eagle (thought to have been part of a funerary monument), was discovered on a building site on the street. The statue is considered to be one of the best examples of Romano-British sculpture in existence.
The area was a papal peculiar outside the jurisdiction of the English bishops. The abbey was dissolved in 1539, the property passing to the Crown. The chapel of the former abbey was used as the Church of Holy Trinity, Minories, and other buildings became an armoury and later workhouse. In 1686, the area became part of the Liberties of the Tower of London. The Minories area also historically hosted a large Jewish community.
Minories Holy Trinity was abolished as a civil parish in 1895 and absorbed by the parish of Whitechapel.
Minories railway station
It gave its name to Minories railway station, built in 1840 as a part of the London and Blackwall Railway – a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) cable railway. The site is now occupied by a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station called Tower Gateway, opened in 1989 as the western terminus of that system. The DLR was extended westward in 1991 to Bank leaving this as an 'alternate terminus'; it is now open again following platform extension works in 2009.
The modern street named Minories runs north-south with traffic flowing both-ways from Aldgate to Tower Hill;  it forms part of the A1211 road between Barbican and Whitechapel. The border between the City and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets ran haphazardly between Minories and nearby Mansell Street until boundary changes in 1994 which resulted in the present-day border along Mansell Street, resulting in Minories falling entirely within the City of London. Aldgate Underground station is located at the northern end of Minories, on Aldgate High Street.
- Pennant, Thomas (1816). Some Account of London. London: J Faulder (digital edition from New York Public Library, 2007). p. 372.
- Thornbury, Walter (1878). Old and New London: Volume 2. London: Cassel (digital edition from University of London & History of Parliament Trust, 2007). pp. 245–250.