Craven Street, London


William Jermy wrote part of his will while living in Craven Street, Westmister, during December 1751, and his obituaries mentioned that he died there. It is clear that he did not own the property because it isn't mentioned as a bequest in his will, and there is no record of him having paid rates on the property between 1747 and 1751. Presumably, he rented the property?

Craven Street, originally Spur Alley, and called Craven Street for the first time in 1742, which extends from the Strand near Charing Cross, south easterly towards Northmberland Avenue. It was built mostly between 1730-1735, with twenty houses on the west side and fiveteen on the east. The houses consisted of four storeys and a basement, with a brick front and an iron first floor balcony.

According to Sir Walter Besant, Covent Garden and the surrounding streets were the centre of the nocturnal amusements and dissipations. Near Covent Garden were two theatres; here were the taverns and night houses, here were many of the most notorious bagnios; here were the coffee houses. In these places were found the wits of the afternoon, and the rakes at night. Here were many shilling ordinaries.

One wonders whether it was here that he contracted the disease that was to cut short his life; and that of his first wife?


1929 - Craven Street, W.C., showing the spire of St. Martin in the Fields 2016 - Modern-day view of Craven Street

There were also a couple of comic poems written about Craven Street - 100 years after William Jermy lived there:

In Craven Street, Strand, ten attorneys find place,
And ten dark coalbarges are moor'd at its base;
Fly, Honesty, fly! seek some safer retreat,
For there's craft in the river and craft in the street.

There was a reply by Sir George Rose:

Why should Honesty fly to some safer retreat,
From attorneys and barges, 'od rot 'em? -
For the lawyers are just at the top of the street,
And the barges are just at the bottom.

Refs: Walter Besant. 1902. London in the Eighteenth Century. Adam & Charles Black
James Smith. c. 1844. Comic Miscellany. Vol II, p 186.
Peter Cunningham. 1850. London Past and Present. John Murray. London


Previous Residences and Memorials Next