Clerkenwell Road, EC1M

Place Name

A relatively new road, it was created as part of a Victorian improvement scheme in 1878 by the Metropolitan Board of Works as a thoroughfare between Gray’s Inn Road and Goswell Road. It was designed to cut through the network of slums that had characterised the area since the Elizabethan era. The road itself skirts the southern edge of its namesake. The name Clerkenwell is an old one and was first recorded around the middle of the 12thCentury. The cleric William FitzStephen wrote in 1180: “Around the northern outskirts of London are excellent springs with sweet, fresh, clear water. gushing over glistening pebbles. Among them is the Fons Clericorum the Clerks’ Well.” The clerks in this case being students. John Stow, writing some four centuries later, noted that the well, “took the name of the parish clerks in London, who of old time were accustomed there yearly to assemble, and to play some large history of Holy Scripture.”

 

 

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