There's something a little louche about the hidden corners of the eastern City - which is nothing like as uniformly dull as the area around the Bank. And the street names - gorgeous, resonant, bewitching.
This is French Ordinary Court, a cavernous undercroft beneath the rail lines leading to Fenchurch Street station, It's a turning off Crutched Friars (yes, that's what the street is called). The court looks at first glance as if it is a cul-de-sac. Not quite. There's a winding footpath at the far end, slaloming between buildings ancient and modern and leading God knows where.
And the name? French Ordinary Court? Well, it seems that 42 Crutched Friars - now the Lloyds Club - was once, centuries ago, the official residence of the French ambassador. And he allowed Huguenots to sell coffee and pastries in the court, which was basically his backyard.
As it heads west, Crutched Friars becomes Hart Street, home to quite the most wonderful of the City churches to survive the Fire. This is Pepy's local church, St Olave's. More about that in my next post.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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