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Adam Dant’s Map of Shoreditch

July 19, 2010
by the gentle author

It is my delight to publish  Adam Dant‘s map drawn to celebrate the centenary of the newly renovated Arnold Circus bandstand.

1. Iron Age Man establishes a track along what is now “OLD STREET”.

2. Christian Roman Soldiers worship at the source of the river Walbrook, now St Leonards.

3. Sir John de Soerditch rides against the French Spears alongside The Black Prince.

4. Jane Shore, a goldsmith’s daughter & lover of Edward IV dies in “a ditch of loathsome scent.”

5. “Barlow” the archer is given the dubious title “Duke of Shoreditch” by Henry VIII.

6. Christopher Marlowe murders the son of a Hog Lane innkeeper, he escapes prosecution.

7. Plague burials take place at “Holywell Mound” by the Priory of St John the Baptist at Holywell.

8. Queen Elizabeth I on passing by medieval St Leonards is “Pleased by its Bells.”

9. The sweet water of “The Holywell” is spoilt by manure heaps of local nursery gardens,

10. James Burbage’s sons Cuthbert & Richard dismantle “The Theatre” in two to four days & transport it to the South bank of the Thames where it is rebuilt as “The Globe”.

11.  William Shakespeare enjoys a “bumper” at an inn on the site of the present “White Horse.”

12. Local Huguenot weavers riot for three days protesting against & burning “multi-shuttle looms”.

13. Thomas Fairchild, a gardener, donated £25 to St Leonards for an annual Whitsunday sermon titled “Wonderful Works of God in creation” or “On the certainty of resurrection of the dead proved by certain changes of the animal and vegetable parts of creation.”

14. Militia are called from the Tower  to quell four thousand Shoreditch locals rioting against cheap Irish labour being used to build the new George Dance tower of St Leonards.

15. Large lumps of masonry fall onto the congregation during a service at the collapsing old St Leonards.

16. The Huguenot speciality “fish & chips” appear at Britain’s first fish & chip shop on Club Row.

17. The many murders & muggings at Holywell Mount lead to it being levelled.

18. Local theatres such as The Curtain sink to become “no more than sparring rooms.”

19. Brick Lane takes its name from local brickfields, occasional location of furtive criminality.

20. Visitors to James Fryer’s land at Friar’s Mount wrongly assume a monastery stood there.

21. Joe Lee, the local horsewhisperer, coaxes improved productivity from working donkeys.

22. “Resurrection Men,” notorious body snatchers pinch recent interred corpses from St Leonards, some coffins in the crypt are found to contain bricks instead of bodies,

23.  Four thousand people are dispossessed as Bishopsgate Goods Yard replaces streets around Swan Lane & Leg Alley.

24. Mary Kelly’s funeral procession leaves St Leonards amidst huge crowds. The poor victim of Jack the Ripper is given a second funeral at her own catholic cemetery.

25. Oliver Twist is said to have resided in Shoreditch. Many other unfortunate children arrive each morning at The White St Child Slave Market seeking work.

26. So many unruly pavement-side street vendors populate Shoreditch High St that a regular uniformed Street Keeper is employed.

27. Horse drawn trams add to the general commotion bustle and smell of the High Street.

28. Cats meat sellers, watercress hawkers & dog breeders all cram into the Old Nichol’s filthy tenements.

29. Sir Arthur Arnold, head of the LCC main drainage committee is commemorated at Arnold Circus.

30. For decades the chalk horse on Bishopsgate Goods Yard is redrawn by unknown local artist.

31. Enthusiastic Anarchists hoping to bring political awareness to the Old Nichol proletariat through their Boundary St printing operation find the task “like tickling an elephant with a straw.”

32. Artist, Lord Leighton calls the interior of Holy Trinity, Old Nichol St, “The most beautiful in England.”

33. Arthur Harding’s memories of his slum boyhood, “van dragging” etc are recalled in “East End Underworld.”

34. Arthur Morrison pens his slum tale “Child of the Jago” following Reverend Jay’s invitation to the Old Nichol.

35. The chapel dedicated to Shakespeare on Holywell Lane is destroyed by a WWII bomb.

36. Syd’s Coffee Stall, now Hillary Caterers, is saved from destruction during an air raid as two parked buses shelter it from a bomb blast. Thomas Austen’s medieval chancel window is less fortunate.

37. Novelist Arthur Machen identifies a “leyline” running through the mystic ancient earthwork Arnold Circus.

38. King Edward VIII officially inaugurates Boundary Estate from a platform on Navarre St.

39. The Red Arrows pass over the bandstand en-route once more to the Queen’s Birthday.

40. Protestors eventually force the closure of Club Row animal market, once home to dogs, parrots, pigeons and the occasional lion cub.

41. Navarre St is used as a playground by children who carve their names into the brickwork.

42. Artist, Ronald Searle visits Club Row animal market to illustrate Kaye Webb’s “Looking at London.”

43. The resident Bengali flute player of Arnold Circus is often heard across the Boundary Estate on warm Summer evenings.

44. The IRA bomb which explodes on Bishopsgate disturbs the rats in Shoreditch who emerge in large numbers from the drains,

45. The great train robbers plan their notorious crime upstairs in The Ship & Blue Ball, Boundary St.

46. Jeremiah Rotherham demolishes the Shoreditch Music Hall for another warehouse.

47. Joan Rose‘s father proudly displays his fruit & vegetables on Calvert Avenue whilst she is sent to buy more bags at Gardners Market Sundriesmen (still trading today).

48. Every type of vacuum cleaner bag is sold by “Zammo from Grange Hill’s dad” at Shoreditch Domestics on Calvert Avenue.

49. The failed Suicide Bus Bomber is seen by security camera leaving the No 26 at Shoreditch.

50. Mono-recording virtuoso, Liam Watson strides past Shoreditch’s “Elvisly Yours” souvenir shop en-route to legendary Toe-rag recording studios in French Place.

Maps copyright © Adam Dant

18 Responses leave one →
  1. MoreLightMorePower permalink
    July 19, 2010

    Nice article – he should do a ‘future shoreditch’ one….

  2. Joan permalink
    July 19, 2010

    Picked one of these up yesterday at the lovely celebrations marking not only the centenary but such great achievements by the Friends of Arnold Circus. Also got one of your news sheets. Was hoping for a ‘Lobby Lud’ moment but I hope you had a good time and got some cake. We particularly enjoyed the music and the smells of the old Jago – my middle child made up such a smelly concoction that we had to abandon his twist of scented cloth in a bin on the way home.

    Best wishes,


  3. BARBARA permalink
    July 19, 2010

    Yet another wonderful post, Gentle Author! Thank you. Where is it possible to see these maps ‘for real’ when next in the neighbourhood? Keep up the great work and thanks again. Barbara

  4. July 20, 2010

    Gentle Author – thanks for this great post. These maps are amazing and inspiring and – like Barbara (above) – I’d really like to take a closer look at the real thing.

  5. the gentle author permalink
    July 22, 2010

    Copies of Adam Dant’s map are now available for a limited period at Leila’s Cafe in Calvert Avenue next to Arnold Circus.

  6. Marcelle Manning permalink
    July 12, 2011

    The maps are great! I’m from South Africa and my paternal forbears, going back to 1749, came from Shoreditch—-Hog Lane to be exact! Marriage and baptisms at St Leonard.

    Thanks for the insight your maps have given.


  7. Marcelle Manning permalink
    October 16, 2011

    Am I far too late to obtain a copy of your map? This was a wonderful discovery for my family!


  8. the gentle author permalink*
    October 17, 2011

    We still have some copies available, Marcelle.

  9. phil Draper permalink
    June 3, 2012

    this is a great insight into our past the research you have done is amazing would there be any maps left, i think our family also comes from this area anchor street

  10. Miriam Delorie permalink
    January 27, 2013

    Hi there, have you got anything/map of the area of Artilery Lane pse? my grandparents and my father was brought up in that area tks Miriam

  11. Jo Rowlands permalink
    May 26, 2013

    I love these maps and the information on this web page. I worked around this area in the early 1990s and have very fond memories of the time. I love to visit this area of London.

  12. tony pollock permalink
    November 29, 2013

    i was born in shoreditch in 1938,calvert avenue to be exact,so the maps
    of different stages in history of shoreditch appeal to me.
    can anybody tell me where ican get a copy of these maps,
    best wishes,
    tony pollock.

  13. Richard Simpson permalink
    December 2, 2013

    I absolutely love these maps. Are copies available for purchase anywhere?
    thanks for a great post!

  14. Jeanne Cook permalink
    May 11, 2014

    The maps are just great, I lived in Shoreditch ( Hoxton to be exact).
    I would love to purchase A copy of these maps. is it possible ?

  15. Cisco permalink
    July 16, 2014

    Hi there

    Is anyone interested of two original colour maps with frames of :

    Shoreditch, Norton Folgate And Crepplegate Without


    Please e-mail me for pictures (


  16. James Baffico permalink
    December 16, 2016

    Wonderful maps and delightful little history items. But woefully amiss when it comes to Christopher Marlowe. Why do you Brits who are so erudite in most matters disparage Marlowe – the greatest English poet – over and over again???
    He did NOT kill William Bradley. His friend Tom Watson did.
    Bradley started a fight with Marlowe in Hog Lane, swords were drawn, then Watson appeared and Bradley went after him saying, “Art thou now come, then I will have a bout with thee.” Bradley was angry with Watson for siding with others who were trying to collect a debt from Bradley.
    Bradley wounded Watson, but Watson then ran him through the heart, killing him. Both Marlowe and Watson waited for the Constables to arrive and both were taken to Newgate gaol. Marlowe was released on a Queen’s pardon after 13 days and Watson’s plea of self defense was accepted on 12 February, 1589/90 a full 5 months later.
    Christopher Marlowe was not a homosexual ‘roaring boy’, not a counterfeiter, not a wastrel and not a scurrilous good-for-nothing. He was an important agent in the service of the Queen, the creator of blank verse, the history play and the greatest poet of the Elizabethan Age. It’s about time you folks wised up and began to honor this great Englishman.

  17. Matthew Goode permalink
    December 16, 2019

    Saw these lovely maps for the first time on saturday just gone whilst inside St.Leonards where some of my forefathers were baptized and/or laid to rest in the church yard.
    The maps helped us to have a better understanding of how Shoreditch has changed over the centuries, and fix where my forefathers lived in Nelson St.
    We also never knew that St.Leonards was the Actors Church.

  18. Ann Richards permalink
    November 7, 2020

    Fabulous maps great for family history. My family were from Shoreditch and Clerkenwell

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