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Then & Now: A HISTORY OF LONDON'S OLDEST STREETS

HIGH HOLBORN STREET


Many of London's oldest streets were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666 in which nearly 90 percent of all of the medieval housing within the city's Roman walls were burnt to the ground. Miraculously however, some relics from pre-fire London do remain intact and the oldest known house is located on High Holborn Street. This house is called The Staple Inn, dating all the way back to  1378 when, as the name suggests, it was a collection point for one of Britain's most valuable commodities; wool.

PORTSMOUTH STREET

Another fortunate survivor of the Great Fire of London is The Old Curiosity Shop pictured above, to be found still standing and what's more, still in business, on Portsmouth Street. Established in 1567, the shop claims to have inspired Charles Dickens himself, featuring heavily in 'Master Humphrey's Clock' although this is since rumoured to have been untrue.

Though the shop still retains so many of it's  carefully preserved original features, you'll find that it's current proprietors have modernised enough to create a website. Here you can indeed still purchase some fascinating curiosities in the form of shoes; bump or hog-toed leather boots to be precise!

SHAD THAMES

Sticking with the Dickensian theme, Shad Thames is home to some of the most intact Victorian warehouses still standing in London. Located in Bermondsey with  Tower Bridge at one end of it's cobbled street. Originally housing dry goods such as coffee, tea and spices ready for transportation down the river, Shad Thames has now been thoroughly spruced up by designer Terence Conran whose series of eateries on the street such as Le Pont de la Tour and the Butler's Wharf Chop house will have you pleading iin true Oliver Twist fashion "Please Sir, can I have some more?"
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