How pertinent: I walked along here today!
Holborn, London WC2B 6AF
- Chancery Lane Station (0.2 km)
- Holborn Station (0.3 km)
- Contact us:
020 7404 5184
Ground Floor Sleaford House, Blackthorn Street, London E3 3PY
“Margot Bloom is a practitioner of Modern Lifestyle Management. From Life coaching and business mentoring to helping you de-clutter your home and organise, Mrs Bloom offers a bespoke service to assist her clients in achieving harmony in their lives...” more...
1 review of Holborn Bars in English
Sorry not a review of pubs :0)
The line of houses still remaining at Holborn Bars, on the south side of the street, opposite Furnival’s-inn, are still well worth seeing, as being by far the most perfect specimens of old street architecture, with its wooden beams and projecting upper storeys, remaining in London.
An 1896 description says “Holborn, derived from Hole Bourne, has been an important thoroughfare for centuries. Criminals travelled along it from the Tower and Newgate on their last journey to Tyburn, and the Inns of Court on either side made it busy. It escaped the Great Fire, but modern improvements have greatly altered its character, least so, however, at the
spot known as Holborn Bars, where are some picturesque old houses.
At the junction of Grays Inn Rd is Holborn Bar, a stone obelisk with silver griffins on it. This marks the boundary of the City of London. It was originally set up in 1130 and acted as a toll booth as well as a check point to prevent “rogues vagabonds and lepers” entering the City
The granite obelisk is one of those marking the site of the Bars enclosing the City Liberties, and here a toll had to be paid for carts entering the City.
Through Holborn Bars entry is effected to Staple Inn, where Dr. Johnson lived and wrote “Rasselas”. Holborn extends from the Viaduct to Holborn Bars; that part of the street which stretches from the Bars to Drury Lane is known as High Holborn.”
On the south side of the street stands Staples Inn. It was built in 1586 and is the only surviving Elizabethan domestic building in London. Dr Johnson used to occupy number 2 from 1759-60. Dickens lived where the Prudential now stands from 1834-7. Farther to the east on the south side of the street is Bernards Inn. Pip and Herbert Pocket in Dickens “Great
Expectations” lived here.
The next street running south is Fetter Lane. The name may derive from the old French for lawyer, whose reputation was so low that the word came to mean idler. Another source derives it from the armourers who served the Knight Templars who built their round church on what is now High Circus.
Both ends of the street were used as occasional execution and punishment sites. Opposite Fleur de Lis Court lived Elizabeth Brownrigg the notorious midwife who was hanged, for murdering her girls.
To the north runs Hatton Gardens, which is the centre of the diamond trade in London.
Street directories for 1837-39 record that J Gillingswater, Slaughterer of Bears and Importer of Bear Grease, had a barber’s shop at 148 Holborn Bars, London.
Bears grease was used as a pomade for the hair and was also said to cure baldness, presumably based on bears being very hairy. In the 19C bears were even farmed in 1877 there were, within the state of Maine, 1800 families involved in breeding and raising bears, with each milch bear yielding “10 to 12 pounds of excellent butter”.
Comment 1 comment on this review
dmj1962, 9 October 2008:
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