The Crypton Factor

the-crypton-factor_2I took a stroll down Fleet Street yesterday lunchtime to pick up some heavy duty builder’s bags from Robert Dyas (don’t ask).

Influenced by Secret London: An unusual Guide – Rachel Howard/Bill Nash (Jonglez) I reckoned as I had some time left I’d visit one of the attractions in the book. I thought I knew that area well, but obviously I didn’t as when I walked down Bouverie Street it all looked completely alien to me.

Walking past The Polish Cultural Institute which I never knew even existed, I took a left down Magpie Alley which has a series of tiles (aka The Magpie Murals) on the wall telling the story of the good old days of “The Print.” Interesting stuff if you love stories about Caxton, hot metal, web offset printing and the like which I do.

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But it didn’t stop there, I kept on going until I hit the back entrance of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP on the left (just before the alley morphs into Ashentree Court) and went through the small iron gate just to the side of the building and down some steps and treated myself to a butchers of the crypt of the old White Friars priory which once stood near there.

It’s well worth it, as it’s light years away from Clinton Cards, Pret a Manger and the hustle and bustle of Fleet Street once you’re at the bottom of those stairs.  P

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Golden years, gold

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Yesterday lunchtime while popping to Fleet Street for some “Friday bits” I passed by the Law Society of England and Wales’ Chancery Lane headquarters and noticed some brand new looking shiny lions on top of the black railings there.

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Thinking they’d just been painted, I went over to tell the painters how good a job they done (and get some tips!) instead, discovered  a couple of friendly “gilders” in the process of covering the lions with gold leaf. They were only too glad to talk about it and gave us a quick rundown of the gilding process (good blokes!) The work looks a bit painstaking and takes a bit of time but boy, those lions look good! P

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How big is the cat then?

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Over the last couple of weeks I’ve passed this strange sight a few times while walking through Clifford’s Inn from Fleet Street.  It looks like one of those plastic boxes you bring your cat to the vet in but there’s no handle on the top and it’s very very large (you’ll never get this on the bus!) Any ideas? Is it the second home of the Black Dog of Newgate perhaps? Whatever it is, we at LIYLH would love to know! P

Searching for that short cut

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This morning I was late for work and trying to find a cut-through from Fleet Street to Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Walking through one of the alleys I found this dead end called Hen & Chicken Court. It hasn’t much in it apart from a nice carved stone on the floor on the way in, a couple of fire exits and a single door at the end.

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But legend has it, beside this alley is the site of Sweeney Todd’s notorious barber shop. Not your average back alley then! P

Octagon Man

skull cappedEven though I was born into a church-going household I rarely enter one on a Sunday anymore but give us a lunchtime in the week and I will! Last week W and I popped into one of the few Octagonal churches in London, St Dunstan in the West on Fleet  Street.

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It was nice to pop in and have one of the ladies from Churchwatch to show us around and give us a bit of information on the church (it’s worth checking out if any churches in your vicinity have lunchtime tours as it’s more informative that walking around on your todd). There was a tale of boys from Westminster School putting out the flames of the great fire of london with buckets of water when it threatened the church in 1666. It’s got a famous clock, an altar screen from a monastery in Bucharest as it’s home to the Romanian Orthodox Church in London and Samuel Pepys has supposedly visited here back in the (sabbath) day. What more do you want in a church?