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Covent Garden was an old fruit and vegetable market. It is now of Central London’s most popular districts with numerous shops, pubs, and entertainment venues. This area was a field until the 7th century when the Anglo-Saxon town Lundenwic was established with Covent Garden at its center. It functioned until the 9th century. In the 13th century, the area was known as the “garden of the Abbey and Convent” as it was used to grow crops for Westminster Abbey. In the 16th century, the Earls of Bedford owned this WC2 area. Architect Inigo Jones designed the square and St Paul’s church. Many London estates adopted this Italianate style.
The fruit and vegetable market developed in the 17th century. The local tube station opened in 1906. The building is Grade II listed. Legend has it that the ghost of actor William Terriss haunts the station. Supposedly, his favorite bakery was demolished to make room for the station. There are more than 60 pubs in Covent Garden. It is believed that the Lamb and Flag is the oldest pub here. Until 1883, the pub was called Cooper’s Arms. In the 19th century it was known as Bucket of Blood because of the bare knuckles fights held there. The Salisbury is a Grade II listed pub that was known as Coach & Horses and Ben Caunt’s Head.
The name Covent Garden is sometimes used for the Royal Opera House which is found in this area. The opera was established in 1732. In addition to opera and ballet, the venue also hosted the British Academy Film Awards and Laurence Olivier Awards. The first mention of a Punch and Judy show played in Britain comes from Covent Garden in 1662. It was recorded in Samuel Pepys’s diary. Street performances are a regular event in this area. Christmas Day is the only day when no performances take place.