The Honourable Artillery Company

Walk south down City Road, past Bunhill Fields, and you will encounter, on your right, this forbidding building. The City shield and Royal Arms over the doorway testify to its importance, but the only clue to its purpose is given by two brass plates on the heavily guarded alley to its south which indicate that … Read More

Clere, Clair, Cleare or Clare Street…?

Uncovering the origins of this unusually named street in Shoreditch Clere Street is a turning off Tabernacle Street in Shoreditch, on the edge of the pre-1965 border between Finsbury and Shoreditch boroughs. It was previously called Paradise Street from c. 1792, then gained ‘Clere’ around 1938 when many London streets with confusing, duplicated and common … Read More

Benjamin Franklin, a Founding Father in Finsbury

Benjamin Franklin is one of history’s most famous Americans. Lulu Martyn-David explains the Founding Father’s deep links to our patch of London.  Born: Boston, Massachusetts 17 January 1706Died: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 17 April 1790 What is a man who was born and died in America in the 18th century doing here on our latest Finsbury blog? Not just any man, but a … Read More

Priss Fotheringham

Priss Fotheringham ‘the second best whore in the city’ The above blue plaque in Whitecross Street, Finsbury, has recently been obscured by a new artwork. Whilst sad that we can no longer see it, the plaque itself was part of a contemporary artwork series installed in 2012 during the annual Whitecross festival of street art. … Read More

Christmas Crackers

Crackers invented in Finsbury As Christmas approaches and we start to prepare for the festival season, putting up the tree and decorations, buying the presents and starting to think just how big that turkey will be!  Have you ever thought about those essential Christmas Crackers – where for a few days a year we laugh … Read More

Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe  1660 – 1731. Born Cripplegate died  Ropemakers Alley, Moorfields Have you been to Bunhill Fields and seen this? This impressive memorial to famous author Daniel Defoe does him proud but did you know that originally he had a much more modest headstone? Almost 150 years after his death, as the appreciation of his story telling grew it was … Read More

French Hospital Plaque

The plague, the Pest House and La Providence

This discreet wall plate on a school in Bath Street, Finsbury commemorates the ‘French Hospital’, founded in 1718.  Then this Islington Borough green historic plaque marked the adjacent site of the rather more sinister-sounding City Pest House, established in 1593; sadly, it appears to have been mislaid during some recent building work.   Bath Street … Read More

Plaque at Moorgate

Bethlem Hospital

Introduction The area of Finsbury has a strong connection with Medicine, and to start off, here is a post that looks at the Bethlehem Hospital – in the City of London, but just outside the Moorgate. The hospital led to many Doctors and Physicians living in the area around Finsbury Circus, and this led to … Read More