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Holborn

Holborn

Holborn Bars, built 1879–1901, headquarters of Prudential Assurance, at 138–142 Holborn
Holborn is located in Greater London
Holborn
Holborn
 Holborn shown within Greater London
OS grid reference
London borough Camden
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district WC1, WC2
Postcode district EC1
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Holborn and St Pancras
London Assembly Barnet and Camden
List of places
UK
England
London

Holborn ( )[a] is an area of central London.

Contents

  • History 1
    • Toponymy 1.1
    • Local governance 1.2
    • Urban development 1.3
  • Modern times 2
  • Education 3
  • Geography 4
    • Nearby areas 4.1
    • Transport 4.2
  • Notable people 5
  • Gallery 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

History

Toponymy

The area's first mention is in a charter of Westminster Abbey, by King Edgar, dated to 959. This mentions "the old wooden church of St Andrew" (St Andrew, Holborn).[1] The name Holborn may be derived from the Middle English "hol" for hollow, and bourne, a brook, referring to the River Fleet as it ran through a steep valley to the east.[1][2] Historical cartographer William Shepherd in his Plan of London about 1300 labels the Fleet as "Hole Bourn" where it passes to the east of St Andrew's church.[3] However, the 16th century historian John Stow attributes the name to the Old Bourne ("old brook"), a small stream which he believed ran into the Fleet at Holborn Bridge, a structure lost when the river was culverted in 1732. The exact course of the stream is uncertain, but according to Stow it started in one of the many small springs near Holborn Bar, the old City toll gate on the summit of Holborn Hill.[2][4] This is supported by a map of London and Westminster created during the reign of Henry VIII that clearly marks the street as 'Oldbourne' and 'High Oldbourne'.[5] Other historians, however, find the theory implausible, in view of the slope of the land.[6]

Local governance

A map showing the wards of Holborn Metropolitan Borough as they appeared in 1952.

It was then outside the City's jurisdiction and a part of St Andrew Holborn Above the Bars with St George the Martyr.

The St Sepulchre. The Metropolitan Borough of Holborn was created in 1900, consisting of the former area of the Holborn District and the St Giles District, excluding Glasshouse Yard and St Sepulchre, which went to the Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury. The Metropolitan Borough of Holborn was abolished in 1965 and its area now forms part of the London Borough of Camden.

Local politicians include Keir Starmer MP, the Labour Party Member of Parliament for Holborn and St Pancras, and three ward councillors for Holborn and Covent Garden: Cllr Julian Fulbrook, Cllr Sue Vincent and Cllr Awale Olad of the Labour Party. Holborn is also represented in the London Assembly as part of Barnet and Camden by Andrew Dismore, also of the Labour Party.

Urban development

"Old Holborn": Staple Inn in 1900

In the 18th century, Holborn was the location of the infamous Mother Clap's molly house but in the modern era High Holborn has become a centre for entertainment venues to suit more general tastes: 22 inns or taverns were recorded in the 1860s and the Holborn Empire, originally Weston's Music Hall, stood between 1857 and 1960, when it was pulled down after structural damage sustained in the Blitz. The theatre premièred the first full-length feature film in 1914, The World, the Flesh and the Devil, a 50-minute melodrama filmed in Kinemacolour.[9]

Charles Dickens took up residence in Furnival's Inn, on the site of the former Prudential building designed by Alfred Waterhouse now named "Holborn Bars". Dickens put his character "Pip", in Great Expectations, in residence at Barnard's Inn opposite, now occupied by Gresham College.[10] Staple Inn, notable as the promotional image for Old Holborn tobacco,[11] is nearby. The three of these were Inns of Chancery. The most northerly of the Inns of Court, Gray's Inn, is in Holborn, as is Lincoln's Inn: the area has been associated with the legal professions since mediaeval times, and the name of the local militia (now Territorial Army unit, the Inns of Court & City Yeomanry) still reflects that. Subsequently the area diversified and become recognisable as the modern street. A plaque stands at number 120 commemorating Thomas Earnshaw's invention of the Marine chronometer, which facilitated long-distance travel. At the corner of Hatton Garden was the old family department store of Gamages. Until 1992, the London Weather Centre was located in the street. The Prudential insurance company relocated in 2002. The Daily Mirror offices used to be directly opposite it, but the site is now occupied by Sainsbury's head office.

Modern times

A view of Holborn in 1984.

Further east, in the gated avenue of Ely Place, is St Etheldreda's Church, originally the chapel of the Bishop of Ely’s London palace. This ecclesiastical connection allowed the street to remain part of the county of Cambridgeshire until the mid-1930s. This meant that Ye Olde Mitre, a pub located in a court hidden behind the buildings of the Place and the Garden was subject to the Cambridgeshire Magistrates to grant its licence.[12][13] St Etheldreda's is the oldest church building used for Roman Catholic worship in London. However, this became so only after it ceased to be an Anglican chapel in the 19th century.

Hatton Garden, the centre of the diamond trade, was leased to a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Christopher Hatton, at the insistence of the Queen to provide him with an income. Behind the Prudential Building lies the Anglo-Catholic church of St Alban the Martyr.[14] Originally built in 1863 by architect William Butterfield, it was gutted during the Blitz but later reconstructed, retaining Butterfield's west front. The current vicar is the Rev. Christopher Smith.[14] On the southern side lie Chancery Lane and Fetter Lane.

On Holborn Circus lies the Church of St Andrew, an ancient Guild Church that survived the Great Fire of London. However the parochial authority decided to commission Sir Christopher Wren to rebuild it. Although the nave was destroyed in the Blitz, the reconstruction was faithful to Wren's original. In the middle of the Circus there is a large equestrian statue of Prince Albert by Charles Bacon (1874), the City's official monument to him. It was presented by Charles Oppenheim, of the Diamond Trading Company De Beers, whose headquarters building is in nearby Charterhouse Street.

Former Pearl Assurance building

In the early 21st century, Holborn has become the site of new offices and hotels: for example, the old neoclassical Pearl Assurance building near the junction with Kingsway was converted into a hotel in 1999.

There has been a limited attempt to rebrand Holborn (and perhaps other nearby areas such as Bloomsbury) as "Midtown", on the grounds that it is notionally in the very middle of London, between the West End and the City (often considered, such as for postcode purposes, to be on the east side of central London).[15] The rebrand attempt may arise from the fact that, despite its central location, Holborn is relatively less well-known than the West End and the City.

Education

For education within the Westminster portion of Holborn see the main City of Westminster article.

Geography

Nearby areas

Transport

The nearest London Underground stations are Chancery Lane and Holborn. The closest mainline railway station is City Thameslink.

Notable people

The following is a list of notable people who were born in or are significantly connected with Holborn.

Gallery

Notes

  • a. ^ Pronunciation: The authoritative BBC pronunciation unit recommends "[16][17] However, Modern British and American English pronunciation (2008) cites "Holborn" as one of its examples of a common word where the "l" is silent.[18] The popular tourist guide The Rough Guide to Britain sticks to the traditional form, with neither "l" nor "r": .[19]

References

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ http://www.oldlondonmaps.com/oldenmappages/olden08a.html
  6. ^ Lethaby (1902:48)
  7. ^
  8. ^ The Parish of St Andrew Holborn pp11-12 Caroline Barron London 1979
  9. ^ The World, the Flesh and the Devil at the Internet Movie Database
  10. ^ Chap. 20
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b St Alban the Martyr accessed 14 December 2013
  15. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/9359556/A-Midtown-inLondon-Theres-NoHo-chance.html
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^

External links

London/Holborn-Clerkenwell travel guide from Wikivoyage

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