London Westminster & Middlesex Family History Society

Holborn
Parish church of St Andrew (1558-1952)

St Andrew Holborn adj 780 Holborn is the smallest of the metropolitan boroughs, 405 acres, and the probable meaning of its name is the brook or bourne in the hollow. It comprises four parishes - St Giles' in the Field, see below; St George's, Bloomsbury; St George the Martyr, Queen Square; St Peter's, Saffron Hill; and the part of St Andrew's, Holborn, which is outside the City. It is bounded on the north by St Pancras, north-east and east by Finsbury, south-east by the City of London, south by Westminster, and west by Westminster, St Marylebone and St Pancras.
In Woburn Square is a little early Gothic revival church by Vulliamy (1833) containing a reredos designed by Burne-Jones in memory of Christina Rossetti, who lived nearby and in Gordon Square is the great Catholic Apostolic church by Brandon (1854).
St George the Martyr is a parish carved out of St Andrew's Holborn in 1723, the church in Queen's Square having been built in 1706 as a Chapel of Ease. It was so completely transformed in 1867 that it is of little interest.
In the parish of St Andrew's Holborn was Furnival's Inn. Bedford Row is a street of fine old 18th century houses mostly occupied by the legal profession. The name, like that of Harpur Street, is due to a local benefactor, Sir William Harpur of Bedford who was Lord Mayor in 1561. Theobalds Road was part of the route to the favourite country resort of James I, Theobalds in Hertfordshire.
Ely Place commemorates a London palace of the Bishops of Ely, the earliest record are from 1286 when the bishop was John de Kirkby. When he died in 1290, he bequesthed a messuage and adjoining tenements to his successor. The will refers to the property as in the parish of St Andrew near Holborn. Kirkby's successor was Wm du Luda, who held the see between 1290 and 1298. It is believed that the chapel on the ground left by Kirkby during this time. The garden at Ely was noted for it's strawberrys, as recorded in Shakespeare's Richard III, where the Duke of Gloster says, "My Lord of Ely when I was last in Holborn, I saw good strawberries in your garden there, I do beseech you send for some of them." The gardens on the bishop sloped down to the River Fleet; and probably Plum Tree Court, Saffron Hill and Vine Street derive there name from them. Saffron Hill - once a liberty or area free from jurisdiction of the county sheriffs and magistrates, and the haunt of undesirable characters. It is the background for much of Oliver Twist.
The thoroughfare known as Ely place is unique in several respects. The gate is closed nightly at 10, and up to 1939 from that hour until 6am one of the three watchmen, on duty in turn, paraded round the cul-de-sac calling out the hours. At one time the weather was also announced. Next to the chapel is St Audrey's House. St Audrey was a popular name for St Etheldreda, who died of a tumour to in the throat caused by the early love of necklaces. At the fair at Ely, necklaces and lace were sold as St Audrey's. From this was derived the word tawdry, "You promised ma a tawdry-lace and a pair of sweet gloves." Winter's Tale.
To the west of Ely Place and Hatton Garden, taking its name from Sir Christopher Hatton who acquired the property from the Bishops of Ely. The annual rent for the gate-house was a red rose and 10 loads of hay plus £ 10 for the grounds including an orchard. Between 1620 and 1624 the palace was occupied by the Spanish Embassy and in 1643 Ely Place was made a prison by the Long Parliament, and the Serjeant-at-Arms was appointed keeper, with a charge that the chapel and the gardens receive no injury. Nearby in a somewhat dilapidated condition, a charity school, designed by Wren in 1696 [ The school building is there and in fine condition - author's comment. ].
The Mitre Tavern, at the Holborn end of Hatton garden, is quite modern, but on its façade is a mitre that bears the date 1546 and may have been on a much earlier tavern, or on some part of the Bishop of Ely's palace. Inside is an old cherry tree which it is claimed dates back to Elizabeth's reign. Two favoured statements must be denied. There is no underground passage to St Etheldreda's Chapel, and the tavern is not under the jurisdiction of the Cambridge or Ely justices.

Holborn Viaduct was constructed between 1863 and 1869, which demolition of house starting in 1863. It was formally opened by Queen Victoria on 6th November 1869, the same day as the new Blackfriars Bridge. It is 1,400 feet long and 80 feet wide. The bridge crosses the bed of the River Fleet

Churches in Holborn:
Ely Chapel
Holy Trinity, Gray's Inn Road
Holy Trinity, Kingsway
St George, Bloomsbury Way
St George the Martyr, Queen Square
St Giles Mission Church, Sardinia Street
St John the Evangelist, Red Lion Square
St Peter, Saffron Hill