Sunday, September 8, 2013

George, West Harding Court, Fetter Lane

In the minutes of a LCS General Committee meeting, held on 23 July 1795, it was reported that Div 13, would branch to the George, West Harding Court, Fetter Lane on the following Wednesday, where  Ward, Canty, Rawson, Hastie, Oxlaid would act as deputies (Add MSS 27813, fos. 76v-82; Thale 268).

Horwood's Map. Click to Enlarge.
Fetter Lane is a north-south artery that connects Fleet Street with Holborn. John Strype reported in his Survey of 1720 that the houses in Fetter lane were generally good and "well inhabited". West Harding Street, towards the south end of Fetter Lane, was a small street of around 10 buildings, connected to East Harding Street, which Strype identifies as one of the nicer streets of this relatively affluent neighborhood, in part because it is "open." This was a stronghold of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, and was part of the area known as Goldsmiths Rents. In 1794 the committee of the Goldsmiths Company announced that they would sit at their hall to receive proposals for "repairing the Leases" of Nos. 3, 4 and 5 in West Harding Street. (Oracle and Public Advertiser, October 9, 1794). West Harding Street is part of the maze of small streets and alley's near where Samuel Johnson lived, that I have described elsewhere. I have been unable to locate any record of a pub called the George on this street outside the LCS meeting minutes themselves.

The area, especially the north end of Fetter Lane, was severely damaged by bombing during the second world war, and much of it was redeveloped in the post-war period. None of the eighteenth-century buildings on West Harding Street survived and both sides of this narrow lane are now occupied by large modern office buildings.

West Harding Street today.