Above: Map showing the original ward boundaries in the City of London with the four wards being studied this term being named.
We are following the schedule of lectures – spanning a period of six years. We are in ‘Year 5’ on the original list. This term we are in the City and we shall be looking at four Wards.
The land includes part of the riverfront in the City and is centred on St Paul’s Cathedral. The four wards are shown on the above map. They are: Queenhithe; Bread Street; Castle Baynard; and Farringdon Within. For our ward boundaries we use the original outlines of the wards, which go back over hundreds of years. It should be noted that in 2003 a review of the ward boundaries was undertaken and some of the ancient boundaries have been altered. The new ward boundaries are shown in a pdf published by the City of London which you can find at:
From the historical perspective, it makes no sense to change the boundaries which have acted as the definition for the land in each ward for the past 1,000 years and the description of the wards since the first historian, John Stow, wrote about them in 1605. From a modern-day administrative point of view, the Corporation of the City obviously feels that to move the boundaries is necessary. We must therefore humbly submit to their superior knowledge !
As a special feature this term, there will be a pdf for members all about St Paul’s Cathedral, describing its early history and the reasons for the street plan around the cathedral.
One of the longest streets in the City is today’s Upper Thames Street, part of which extends through the wards just mentioned. In medieval times both Upper Thames Street and Lower Thames Street were just one long street simply known as ‘Thames Street’. Because Upper Thames Street has changed out of all recognition since the 1960s – due to it being widened into a dual carriageway and also due to the extensive redevelopment between the street and the Thames – there will be a special series of blogs which will describe the main places of interest along its length. This series will describe to places of interest within the wards being studied this term. It will also complete the picture for other places along its length.