Esoteric London

No. 679: Panyer Alley, EC4

Posted in Pubs, Statues, Transport by esotericlondon on October 4, 2012

Panyer Alley, London, EC4. Photo © Roger Dean 2012

Curiosities of London Life, or Phases, Physiological and Social of the Great Metropolis – Charles Manby Smith, 1853:

We are going to take a ride in a penny omnibus. Here we are at Holborn Hill: the omnibus, a white one, has just turned round, and we are the first to jump in and ensconce ourselves in a further corner. Now we can ride to Tottenham Court Road for a penny, or to Edgware Road, if we choose, for two-pence. We are hardly seated, when an elderly dame literally bundles in, having a large brown-paper parcel, almost as big as a pannier […].

[ The origin of the name Panyer Alley is uncertain but it is likely that it derives from the french word ‘pannier’, meaning bread basket, the manufacturers of which were housed in the alley in order to supply the bakers in nearby Bread Street.

Set into the wall at the northern end of the alley you will find the relief of the boy astride a ‘pannier’ as seen in the photograph above. It is thought that it may originally have been on the exterior wall of the Panyer Tavern which was just around the corner in Paternoster Row until it was destroyed in the Great Fire of London, 1666.

Below the boy is an inscription reading:

When yu have sought
The Citty Round
Yet still this is
The highest Ground
August the 27 1688

Nice, but unfortunately untrue as Cornhill is apparently a foot or so higher. R.D.]

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