Farringdon Without History of the Most Interesting Places, Leading Events; and Some Account of the Eminent Men connected therewith, since the year 1600

Francis, Adolphus Decimus


Cock Lane

At the corner of which, in Giltspur Street, is now the "Fortune of War" public house, finished the fire of London, on the 5th September, , consuming 78 parish churches, 5 chapels, 13,200 houses, and entailing a loss of nearly 75 millions of our present money value. To commemorate this the figure of a boy is placed over the first-floor of the " Fortune of War," with his arms folded over his breast, and holding a tablet, on which is inscribed, although scarcely to be read,--" This boy is in memory put up for the late fire of London, occasioned by the sin of gluttony, ." This house is memorable as a notorious bodysnatchers' den. Here Hare and Burke frequently met their "Burkers," and here the bodies were placed up like statues round the room for the selection of the students from St. Bartholomew's Hospital; here the notorious Dr. Brooke


came to purchase the offal (shall we say) of each corpse intended for dissection. Many a hideous scene has been enacted in the back room, which contains some mementoes of these ghastly doings; to the curious in such matters it is worth a visit. In Cock Lane the house still stands that was the scene of the Cock Lane ghost imposture in , visited by princes, peers, and ladies, and by countless thousands of believers and non-believers; it attained world-wide celebrity, and many pamphlets were written supporting its existence, and many denying. In Red Lion Place there is a grotesque head carved in wood, temp. James I. In Red Lion Court resided Alderman Wilkes, and from thence he married Miss Mead, the rich drysalter's daughter. Wilkes published here the celebrated periodical, "The North Briton ;" he retained the aldermanic dignity until he was elected chamberlain of the City of London, and then resigned it. Chick Lane, Cow Lane, Hosier Lane, all built in Henry V.'s reign, reveal their derivation in their names.