Monday, 15 June 2009

the City of courtyards

The old city was a city of courtyards, a very inward looking city. While there was life aplenty in the streets, these squares and courtyards were perhaps where the real life of the city took place. You can still see this way of life in many European towns that maintain their medieval pattern - and a few survivors in the City of London itself - private little courtyards in the shadows of the mega corporations.

Many of the finest of these courtyards belong to the Livery companies - the fine facade above is in the courtyard of the company of Apothecaries.

Off Old Jewry there is Fredericks court, a wonderful surviving example of a Georgian city courtyard. And further along Old Jewry (The old Jewish quarter - hence the name) I could see another pleasant looking courtyard, this one unfortunately blocked by a gate and a blue platform machine. Unfortunately this is the case for a good few of the surviving courtyards - whether they are owned by Livery companies, inns of court of banking companies, they are not open to the public.

There is another little courtyard off Cornhill that is usually gated off - white Lion court. Once though it was open, and i had a bit of a look inside. I alwalys feel sad though that these houses, with histories of centuries, are now dead brokering houses. Maybe one day they will be resurrected...

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