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Fleet Street

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309720.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:10 am Reply with quote

Q: What industry brought Fleet Street fame?

F: The newspaper industry

A: The freakshow industry

"Fleet Street was once the home of London marvels other than those of newspaper 'stories'."

Attractions included:

A 14-year-old boy, only 18 inches high (1702)
A Lincolnshire ox, nineteen hands high and four yards long
Giants and Dwarves
Mrs Salmon's Waxworks (140 of them, including a yellow wax image of Mother Shipton who would kick pedestrians on the release of a lever)
"The Fleet Street Mandrakes" (on show for a penny in 1611)

Source: Peter Ackroyd, London The Biography.

312568.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:57 am Reply with quote

Further to this, in case we used it, Fleet Street is named for the fact that it leads to the Fleet River which:

was already, by the Middle Ages, a noisome sewer, with human and animal excrement being complimented by the effluvia of various trades carried on on its banks. It still functions as a storm drain.

s: BBI

313328.  Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:39 am Reply with quote

Given "Fleet Street's" reputation...I think this makes for an amusing GI.

318273.  Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:13 am Reply with quote

According to this article:

The Fleet seems early to have become impure, and hardly fit to drink, for, in 1290, the prior of a Carmelite house in Whitefriars complained of the noxious exhalations, the miasma of which had killed many of the hooded brethren, and the corruption of which overpowered the odours of the incense.

The same article mentions one of the sources of the Fleet was a spring rising in Caen Wood. For this reason, at this point the river was known as Caen Ditch and the settlement that grew up there was known as Caen Ditch Town or, as it's known these days, Kentish Town (though apparently that etymology is disputed).

The Fleet was known as "the River of Wells" in the time of William the Conqueror, since its banks were lined with many wells and springs which claimed to have healing properties. Many of these gave their names to areas of London, the most obvious of which is Clerkenwell.

Another of these wells (as far as I can tell, located somewhere near King's Cross) was named after the woman who lived there selling the waters. Since she was black, and called Mary, the well became known as "Black Mary's Hole." Though I can't think of many comedic possibilities of discussing Black Mary's Hole near King's Cross.

FWIW, King's Cross used to be known as Battle Bridge, since at that point was a bridge that crossed the Fleet where Boudica once fought a famous battle. The name was changed in 1835 when a monument to King George IV was erected at the crossroads there.

318281.  Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:31 am Reply with quote

I suspect I mention this every time the Fleet comes up, in which case I apologise ... what is now called the Jubilee Line on the London Underground was originally going to be called the Fleet Line (because of the famous missing river). When it was changed, to mark the Quoon’s Silver Jubilee, there was considerable anger and protest from lots of people who were keener on London history than they were on bejewelled parasites.

A campaign called Movement Against A Monarchy (MAAM) issued stickers, which some of us had much pre-CCTV fun with, which were designed to cover over the hated Jubilee Line logo with a Fleet Line one and the slogan “DON’T JUBILEEVE IT!”

318331.  Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:52 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
FWIW, King's Cross used to be known as Battle Bridge, since at that point was a bridge that crossed the Fleet where Boudica once fought a famous battle.

Where she may have fought a famous battle, to be strictly accurate. Nobody actually knows, and there isn't any real evidence to say, where her last stand was.


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