Did you know that...
The name of this WC2 area comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “strond” which means “river’s edge”. The street ran along the bank of the River Thames. Many historical mansions such as Essex House, Savoy Palace, Cecil House, and a few others have been built here between the 12th and 17th centuries. In the 17th century, the aristocracy migrated to West End. Covent Garden Holborn Strand became an entertainment center featuring many restaurants, music halls, and taverns. This Central London area has two historic churches. Church of England St Mary le Strand is a Grade I listed building from the 18th century. Another church stood close by in the 13th century. Its name was St Mary and the Innocents. It was demolished in 1549 and the Somerset House was built on its site.
St Clement Danes church stands on the site of a 9th-century church. The current building was finished in 1682. It was damaged during World War II and restored in 1958. It is believed that St Clement is the church mentioned in the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons, however, there’s another St Clemens church in London that fits the bill. Some of the most notable Covent Garden Holborn Strand residents include conductor John Barbirolli, cricketer Pedro Perera, novelist Ann Radcliffe, architect John Shaw Jr., writer Charles Dickens, and motorcycle racer Barry Sheene.
In the 17th century, the fashionable square used to be well-known as a red-light district. A small open-air market of fruits and vegetables, created there in 1654, along with the surrounding theaters, taverns, coffee-houses, and brothels led the authorities to construct Charles Fowler’s neo-classical building to help organize the market and control the whole area better. Covent Garden Holborn Strand is home to some of the most well-known restaurants in London. Here we can find London’s oldest restaurant, Rules, and The Ivy which is a fashionable destination for art lovers and media personalities.