Sir John Betjeman. Great Fire of London. Landmark Trust.
Continue along Cloth Fair and turn left into the alley just after Betjeman’s Wine Bar.
The buildings on your right date back to 1604 and are a rare example of pre- Fire buildings. In fact the buildings of this street did manage to survive the Great Fire of 1666, and remained standing until the early 20th century when, for reasons of hygiene, the City fathers had nearly all the properties destroyed. Photograph’s of what the street was like before this destruction can be seen in the Rising Sun Public House, situated on the next corner along. However, these gabled overhangs, albeit much restored, provide an insight into the living conditions of medieval Londoners who, it was said, could open their bedroom windows in the morning and shake hands with the person who lived opposite them!
A blue plaque on the wall opposite commemorates Sir John Betjeman, Poet Laureate, who lived here until 1971. It is now owned by the landmark Trust and is available for holiday rental.
On the wall to the left of its door, above Betjeman’s wine bar, you can see a false window, with a painting behind it showing the ‘Sailor’s Home Coming.’ The window was added to the wall after the Second World War when the company of architects who owned the property bricked up all its windows on this wall and then decided that it didn’t quite look right without a window. The solution was this dummy window!