‘Less Noise Please’ sign, Fishmongers Hall Wharf, London, EC4. Photo © Roger Dean 2010
Old and New London, A Narrative of its History, its People and its Places – Walter Thornbury, 1893:
In no worse spot in all London could the Great Fire have broken out than Pudding Lane. It found there stores of oil, hemp, flax, pitch, tar, cordage, hops, wines, brandies, and wharves for coal and timber. Fishmongers’ Hall was the first great building consumed when, as Dryden says, in two splendid lines, A key of fire ran all along the shore, And frightened all the river with a blaze. The building on the river-side was reduced to a shell. Even the hall itself, which was at the back, with a high roof and turret, was entirely destroyed, as well as two sets of stairs, and the houses round the Old Swan and Black Raven Alley. Sir William Davenant (Shakespeare’s supposed son), describing this part of London before the Great Fire, says: Here a palace, there a wood-yard; here a garden, there a brewhouse; here dwelt a lord, there a dyer; and between both duomo commune. A strange, picturesque spot, half Dutch, half Venetian, this part of the river-side must have been before the Great Fire.