Above: Map of the City of London showing the outline of all the wards.
It is now time to consider the Areas of Study for Year 6 of the Know Your London cycle of lectures. We start the academic year (as we always do) by taking a look at part of the City. It always seems best to work from east to west across the City. I don’t really know why – except to say that the Roman ‘centre’ of the City was more towards the east that the west.
Because we work according the original ward boundaries, the area of study this year consists of the light-blue area which we will call Smithfield (in order to give it a simple name) and the dark-blue area we will call Fleet Street. The only black dotted line on the map divides the two areas. All the ‘solid’ lines indicate a ward. It will be seen that a ‘solid’ black line runs entirely around the Fleet Street area and most of the Smithfield area as well. It is the City’s largest ward – known as Farrindon Without, meaning the ward called Farringdon on the outside (or without) the old Roman Wall.
Because this ward is so large, it is easier to consider it in two ‘chunks’. The ‘Fleet Street’ part covers Fleet Street (obviously) but also The Temple and most of the street called Holborn. The ‘Smithfield’ part not only covers Smithfield itself but also parts of today’s City of London outside the Roman Wall near Newgate. On the right (east) of the Smithfield area is a smaller ‘long and narrow’ ward known as Aldersgate – because it is the area around the gate by that name and also Aldersgate Street. That ward is included with the Smithfield area.
In summary: Smithfield covers the eastern part of the large ward called Farringdon Without and also the ward called Aldersgate. Fleet Street covers the western part of the ward of Farringdon Without.
There is therefore a large piece of land to be covered and many of the blogs between now and December will concentrate on the two areas of study. No doubt other topics will arise and add to the ‘general mix’ of London’s history and what is going on today in the capital.