Esoteric London

No. 316: Clerkenwell Road, EC1

Posted in Churches by esotericlondon on May 16, 2011

St. Peter’s Italian Church, Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1. Photo © Roger Dean 2011

The Italy of Leather Lane from Low-Life Deeps: An Account of the Strange Fish to be Found There – James Greenwood, 1875:

Thus is accounted for the bewildering spectacle which greets the eyes of the daring explorer or of the unaccustomed wanderer who finds himself lost in the mazes which exist west of Liquorpond Street. At two minutes to ten in the morning, say, he may be threading his way through the unmistakably English crowd that throngs the Leather Lane market. He progresses but a hundred yards or so, and before the clocks chime ten, he has altogether lost sight of his native land, and is stranded on a foreign shore. It is in vain that, seeking a solution of the sudden mystery, he looks up the street and down the street, and at the windows of the houses to the left and right of him. The thoroughfares are narrow here, and the houses tall, and the amazed stranger gazes upwards to see a pair of strangely draped and becowled old women briskly gesticulating, and chattering to each other from opposite sides of the way in outlandish lingo; while lolling negligently from neighbouring casements are other women – olive-visaged, big-eyed beauties of more recent years, whose magnificent locks are half concealed beneath brilliant silken head-gear, and who wear in their ears great earrings of gold, coral, and amber, and about their necks, and depending over their quaintly-laced stomachers, necklaces of carved beads, cumbered with twinkling charms, weird-looking, and suggestive of fetish.