Great Prescott Street - Great Swan Alley

A Dictionary of London. Originally published by H Jenkins LTD, London, 1918.

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Henry A Harben, 'Great Prescott Street - Great Swan Alley', in A Dictionary of London, (London, 1918) pp. . British History Online [accessed 26 May 2024].

Henry A Harben. "Great Prescott Street - Great Swan Alley", in A Dictionary of London, (London, 1918) . British History Online, accessed May 26, 2024,

Harben, Henry A. "Great Prescott Street - Great Swan Alley", A Dictionary of London, (London, 1918). . British History Online. Web. 26 May 2024,

In this section

Great Prescott Street

East from 95 Mansell Street to 104 Leman Street (P.O. Directory). In Goodman's Fields.

Former names : "Prescott street" (Hatton, 1708, and Strype's maps, 1720). "Peasecod street " (Strype, 1720, I. ii. 28). "Prescod street " (P.C. 1732). "Prescot street (Rocque, 1746 ; Boyle, 1799). "Gt. Prescott street" (Horwood, 1799).

It seems to have been one of the first streets in which the houses were distinguished by numbers, instead of signs, as Hatton in his description of the street in 1708 mentions this as worthy of note at that time, the staircases in the Inns of Court and Chancery being also likewise distinguished.

Named after the builder.

Great Rutland Court

See Rutland Place.

Great Shire Lane

North from Temple Bar to Carey Street, the south-eastern corner only being in Farringdon Ward Without, the remaining portion lying outside the City boundary (Elmes, 1831).

Other names : "Sheere Lane" (O. and M. 1677). "Shyre Lane" (S. 375). "Shear Lane or Shire Lane" (Strype, ed. 1720). "Lower Serle's Place and Searle's Place (O.S. 1848-51).

So called because it divideth the Cittie from the Shire (S. 375).

Named Serle's Place after Henry Serle, whose arms are over Carey Street Gateway.

Great Somer's Key

Between Lyons Key east and Dark House Lane west. In Billingsgate Ward (O. and M. 1677-Strype, 1755).

See Somars Key.

Site now occupied by Nicholson's Wharf (q.v.) and the warehouses behind.

Great St. Bartholomew Close

See Bartholomew Close.

Great St. Helen Churchyard

See Helen (St.) Churchyard.

Great St. Helens

East out of Bishopsgate, at No. 38, to Crosby Square and St. Mary Axe (P.O. Directory). In Bishopsgate Ward Within, and Lime Street Ward.

First mention : "Great St. Helen's Close" (S. ed. 1633, p. 181). "Great St. Hellens" (O. and M. 1677).

The portion from Crosby Square east to St. Mary Axe was called "Crosby Street" (q.v.).

It occupies part of the site of the Close, etc., of the Priory of St. Helens (q.v.), hence the name.

Several of the old houses are described by Rev. T. Hugo in his itinerary of the ward of Bishopsgate in 1857, notably Nos. 2, 4, 8 and 9, 11 and 12 (L. and M. Arch. Soc. Trans. I. p. 169).

Great St. Hellen's Court

Out of Bishopsgate Street Within, in Bishopsgate Ward Within (Strype, ed. 1755-L. Guide, 1758).

Not named in the maps.

Great St. Thomas Apostle

West out of Queen Street, at No. 28, to 26 Garlick Hill in Vintry Ward (P.O. Directory).

First mention : Strype, ed. 1720, I. iii. 13.

Former names : "St. Thomas Apostles" (O. and M. 1677-Boyle, 1799). "St. Thomas lane" (Leake, 1666). "Knightriders Street" (q.v.) (S. 247). "Fore side of St. Thomas Apostle" (W. Stow, 1722, to Rev. of Lond. 1728).

Named after the church of St. Thomas Apostle (q.v.).

Great Swan Alley

East out of Coleman Street, at No. 66, across Moorgate Street, at No. 39, to Little Swan Alley (P.O. Directory). Seems to be all called Great Swan Alley now. In Coleman Street Ward.

First mention : Horwood, 1799.

Former names : "Swan Alley," 19 Hen. VIII. 1528 (L. and P. H. VIII. Vol. IV. (Pt. 2), p. 1789). "Swanne Alley." 1566 (Lond. I. p.m. II. 46). "Swann Alley" (O. and M. 1677).

Name derived from the sign.