Secret authentic alley (Lumley Court) off the Strand, London

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 Craig Grobler 0 Comments

Lumley Court WC2
UG: Charing Cross
Bus: Any to Charing Cross/Strand

Off the north side of the Strand, about 310 yds from Charing Cross ML Station, between Bedford Street and Southampton Street and just past Bull Inn Court.

When Richard Blome drew his map of this area in 1686 there were six alleys leading off the Strand between Bedford Street and Southampton Street; four of them continuing through to Maiden Lane. By 1746 this number had increased to ten, but still only four connected with Maiden Lane. From shortly after this time, periodic redevelopment of the site has forced the demise until today there are but three remaining; Exchange Court, Bull Inn Court, and Lumley Court. The first two of these courts are, in their entirety, originals as they were constructed in the 1630's, i.e. they both connected the Strand with Maiden Lane. Lumley Court, although dating from the same period, was one of the cul-de-sacs that extended northwards from the Strand for about three-quarters of its present length. Presumably the way was blocked by a building restriction enforced by the Earl of Bedford whose house was only a few yards to the east. The Court was extended at roughly the same time as Maiden Lane was widened, in about 1872.

Lumley Court is little more than a crack in the wall; it is partly covered and rather spooky - certainly not the sort of place for the claustrophobic to explore in the dead of night. Approaching the northern end of the Court there are a dozen steps raising the level to emerge via a covered exit into Maiden Lane.

A little way to the east of the Court, in Maiden Lane, is the Roman Catholic church of Corpus Christi. It too was built at the same time as the Court was extended and the consecration took place prior to a High Mass in October 1874.