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Lovat Lane, City of London EC3

If you're a fan of history, then you'll love walking along Lovat Lane in the City of London. This quaint little street has been around for centuries, and has seen some pretty significant events unfold.

Lovat Lane is a short street in the City of London that has been preserved for its historic character. The buildings lining this tiny lane are all modern but built with respect to how they’re reminiscent of times gone by, making it an interesting and charming spot emitting a Ye Olde London feel.

Despite its diminutive size, Lovat Lane has a rich history dating back to medieval times. In the 14th century, it was home to a number of wealthy families, and later became known for its bustling market stalls. Today, Lovat Lane is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, with its narrow sidewalks and quaint shops. It is also one of the filming locations for the television series “Sherlock.” Located just a stone’s throw from St. Paul’s Cathedral, Lovat Lane is a perfect example of how the City of London has managed to preserve its rich history while still keeping up with the demands of modern life.

It has been said that the City of London is like a Phoenix, rising from the ashes of the Great Fire of London. Indeed, the City has undergone a remarkable transformation in the centuries since the fire ravaged its streets. Today, it is a thriving metropolis, home to some of the world’s most iconic landmarks. But it is also a city with a proud history and a rich cultural heritage. 

The Great Fire may have destroyed much of the City of London, but it could not extinguish the spirit of its people. In the aftermath of the fire, they set to work rebuilding their beloved city, and today their efforts stand as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. The City of London today is living proof of man’s capacity to rise from catastrophe and create anew.

Even after the Great Fire of London of 1666 there are places remain where it’s possible to get a taste of what the City of London’s narrow lanes were like. 

Lovat Lane heads down to Lower Thames Street and retains the width of many of the city lanes prior to the various street widening projects over the years. St Mary at Hill stands high above all those around.

Lovat lane is a lot older than its name. It was originally called Love Lane but was changed c. 1939, perhaps to avoid confusion with the Love Lane further north off Wood Street. You can also see this change happen in maps. In the 1940 Bartholomew’s Atlas, a street in London had been renamed to Lovat Lane, possibly as a nod to Lord Lovat, whose fisheries used to supply Billingsgate Market at the foot of the lane. The original name of this passage may have originated from prostitutes who frequent it but according John Stow’s reference on “so-called wantons,” they were actually just Salmon Fishermen.

There has been a church on this slope since at least 1177, when it served the local Billingsgate Quay. It was severely destroyed in the Great Fire of London. The church we see was designed by the King’s Architect Sir Christopher Wren as part of the rebuilding 50 churches out the 83 destroyed in the fire. The actual rebuild project was actually carried out by Dr Robert Hooke who also helped to build The Monument.

The “At-Hill” part of this name is due to the church being located up a hill from Billingsgate and Lovat Lane slopes down towards London’s River Thames. The original topography can still be seen with streets sloping downward as they go towards their lowest point near one edge where it meets with another body of the main city area. 

Unlike other Wren churches, the church managed to survive the Blitz despite being located in central London, but it did suffer some damage. A fire damaged much of its Victorian woodwork and organs; however, with restoration services provided by volunteers over many years – including help from diverting construction projects away from their homes- this small town’s holy place has been preserved for generations yet again! ​​The church is open Mon-Thur 10am-4pm.

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London History Podcast:
November 27, 2020
32: Medieval Guilds

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