Lime-street, which gives name to this ward, is supposed by Stow to derive
its name from the making or selling of lime there. This small ward is
bounded on the west by Bishopsgate ward; on the east and north by Aldgate
ward; and on the south by Langbourn ward. It is divided into four precincts;
and it is worthy a remark, that though the ward includes parts of several parishes,
there is no church nor even a whole street in it. The only remarkable buildings
in it are Leadenhall and the East India house.
Plan of Limestreet ward
On the south side of the street which receives its name from it, stands the
front of the quadrangle called Leadenhall, the largest market in the city of
London. The first intelligence given of this place by Stow, is that in the year
1309, the manor of Leadenhall belonged to Sir Hugh Neville, by whose
widow it was alienated; after passing through several hands it came at last in 1408
to Richard Whittington and other citizens, who in 1411 confirmed it to the
mayor and commonalty of the city. In the year 1444 the parson and parish of
St. Dunstan in the East, finding Simon Eyre a rich citizen intended to erect a
granary for the citizens at Leadenhall, they granted the city some adjoining
ground in Grass-street now Grace-church-street to enlarge it (fn. 1) this granary
was accordingly built of square stone, with a chapel at the east end. In the
year 1463 the beam for the tronage and weighing of wool was fixed at Leadenhall by charter of king Edward IV (fn. 2) . Three years after, a fraternity of 60
priests, beside other brethren and sisters, was founded in the chapel belonging to
Leadenhall, to perform service every market day to the market people. Great
part of Leadenhall was burned down by casualty in the year 1484. About the
year 1534 the court of common-council met several times to consult about converting Leadenhall into a burse or exchange for merchants to assemble in,
as they did at that time in Lombard-street; but, from some obstructions that do
not appear, the scheme was laid aside.
The great fire in 1666 stopped at this hall; the stone work of which stood,
though all the houses about it, and in the courts belonging to it were destroyed.
Before this fire, the country people who brought provisions to the market had
their stands in the open street between Gracechurch-street and Lime-street;
which being a very inconvenient situation, the city after that disaster purchased
some adjacent ground behind, and converted it into a market. Leadenhall
market therefore, in its present state, consists of the following parts: Leadenhall
properly so called, which is a large antique building inclosing a square in the
middle, and having its principal front in Leadenhall street. In this edifice are
the warehouse for leather, the Colchester baize hall, the wool hall, and the
meal warehouse. The entrance into the square from Leadenhall street is through
a large gothic gate; and as there is but little meat sold here except beef, this is
called the beef market. On Tuesday this is a market for leather; on Thursdays the waggons from Colchester, and other parts, come with baize, &c. and
the fellmongers with wool (fn. 3) ; on Fridays it is a market for raw hides, and on
Saturdays for beef.
Behind this market are two others separated by a range of buildings of a considerable length, with shops and rooms on each side. In these are principally
sold small meat, as mutton, veal, lamb, and pork, and some of the shops sell
beef. In the eastermost of these is a market-house supported on pillars, with
vaults underneath, rooms above, a clock and a bell tower; within are
sold various sorts of provision. Beyond these is a spacious market for fowl.
There is another called the Herb-market, which has an entrance into Leadenhall-street; and the passages into the above markets from Lime-street and
Grace-church-street are filled with dealers in provisions of various kinds.
East India house.
Between Leadenhall and Lime-street stands the East India house, for conducting the public business of that company (fn. 4) . This edifice was built in the
year 1726, on the spot where antiently stood the town house of the earls of
Craven: the front, which is but narrow, is supported by six Doric pilasters on a
rustic basement story; there are two series of plain windows in the intercolumniations, and the top is finished with a balustrade. It has been remarked that the
appearance of this building is nowise suited to the opulence of the company,
whose servants exercise sovereign authority in their Indian territories, and live
there in princely state. The house however, though small in front, extends
far backward, and is very spacious, having large rooms for the use of the
directors, and offices for the clerks. It has a spacious hall and court yard for
the reception of those who have business, and who attend on the company on
court days, which are every Wednesday. There also belong to it a garden,
with warehouses in the back part toward Lime-street, to which there is a gate for
the entrance of carts to bring in goods. These warehouses were rebuilt in a very
handsome manner in the year 1725, and are now greatly enlarged. The company
have likewise warehouses in Leadenhall-street, Fenchurch-street, Seething-lane,
and the Stillyard, beside cellars for pepper under the Royal Exchange.