Out and About
Hatton Garden retains a distinct village atmosphere, with a myriad of interesting streets and independent businesses all set within a square mile, where the historic meet the contemporary.
Home to the largest cluster of jewellery retailers in the UK there are over 300 businesses and 60 shops connected to the jewellery industry trading and selling everything from traditional stones to handcrafted bespoke jewellery. The area is also steeped in history with its interesting buildings and streetscape and iconic stories.
Ely Place is one of London’s last private roads, whose famous former residents include the poet William Cowper and the architect Charles Barry. In Shakespeare's Richard III, Gloucester mentions the delicious strawberries in the Bishop's garden and a popular Strawberry Fayre is held here in June each year.
Following the completion of the Hatton Garden estate, a church was built at 43 Hatton Garden. The former chapel and parish school, now known as Wren House, can be identified nearby with the statues of charity school children standing on the first floor. Look out for the vintage post boxes.
The Bleeding Heart Yard
The Bleeding Heart Yard, on Greville Street is famous for its unlikely Ingoldsby legend. One night in 1626, Lady Elizabeth Hatton went dancing with a mysterious stranger. Her body was discovered the next morning, lying on the cobblestones. She had been torn limb from limb, and her still-bleeding heart lay throbbing within. There are even rumours that her ghost still haunts the street.
The yard is now home to the Bleeding Heart Restaurant, with its excellent French cuisine and over 400 different wines it’s definitely worth a visit. The once-famous garden now features a private housing development.
Treasure House and Mitre Court
Another impressive water hole, the Mitre Tavern can be located down the narrow alley of Mitre Court, which was first built by the Bishop of Ely in 1546 for his servants. The latter still contains a piece of the cherry tree around which Elizabeth 1 was said to have danced the maypole. Also look out for the fine stone carvings of Treasure House at numbers 19-21.
Gothic Church of St Etheldreda
The Gothic Church of St Etheldreda was built in the thirteenth century. It is the serving Chapel of the Bishop of Ely and was returned to the Roman Catholic Church in 1874. The ancient crypt can still be seen, as can the modern stained-glass windows and beautiful statues of local martyrs, which were erected in the 1960's following the bomb damage in World War II.
Opposite the Church of St. Andrew is the tomb of Thomas Coram, a retired sea captain who founded his famous home for orphaned and abandoned children in Hatton Garden in 1739. The Coram Foundation art treasures can be seen at 40 Brunswick Square, a 15-minute walk away.
Saffron Hill derives its name from the fact that it was at one time part of an estate on which saffron grew. In 1850 it was described as a squalid neighbourhood, the home of paupers and thieves. In Charles Dickens's 1837 novel Oliver Twist, the Artful Dodger leads Oliver to Fagin's den in Field Lane, the southern extension of Saffron Hill: "a dirty and more wretched place he [Oliver] had never seen. The street was very narrow and muddy, and the air was impregnated with filthy odours". Now the street is home to a range of businesses and an important gateway into Hatton Garden from Farringdon Station.
Near the top of Hatton Garden you can spot the plaque for Sir Hiram Maxim, who designed the machine gun and had workshops here. A plaque for another inventor, the cinema pioneer Robert Paul, can also be found near the junction with St Cross Street.