Passing Alley, EC1M

Place Name

Passing Alley 1738
Passing Alley was originally called Pissing Alley, a public urinal, as shown on Rocque’s map.

Originally called Pissing Alley, this was a public toilet from at least Georgian times but probably much earlier and featured on Rocque’s map of 1738. It no longer follows its historic path, which dated back to monastic times and was a continuation of what is now Briset Street, leading east from Butt Close. It was moved a little south as part of a late Victorian redevelopment. However it was the Victorians that changed its name to Passing Alley, sometime by the 1790s, as seen on Horwood’s map of 1799. According to thestreetnames.com: “At one end of the the alley was a tavern where prisoners on their way from Clerkenwell to Newgate were allowed to pause for refreshment. Presumably they then also stopped in Pissing Alley for relief.”

Passing Alley
Horwood’s map of the 1790s shows that the name of the alley had already changed before the Victorians.

 

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