Gunpowder Square, EC4A

Place Name

A very new square, it didn’t exist until 1989. It was laid out over the former Gunpowder Alley, which was demolished to make way for Hill House. A plaque on the King George III cannon monument in the centre of the square reads: “Opened on 29th November 1989 by Sir Hugh Bidwell GBE, Lord Mayor of London”. Al Smith in Dictionary of City of London Street Names explains where this evocative name may have originated: “In the late seventeenth century when the reign of Charles II was ending, there was fear among Londoners that the king’s brother, the future James II, would restore the Catholic faith and all over England no-popery meetings were held; and none were larger than those held in Fleet Street where effigies of the Pope were burned or blown up. The gunpowder used in the demonstrations were made and stored in the little courtway which was nicknamed Gunpowder Alley.”

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