St Clement Danes, now the central RAF church in the Strand, is at the heart of the capital, sandwiched between ‘theatreland’ and legal London, and connecting the dual historic centres of Westminster and the City. This book reveals the vibrant cultural, economic, political and religious life of the parish from the Restoration to its abolition in 1900.
This period was one of rapid urban transformation in the parish, as the large aristocratic riverside houses of the 17th century gave way to a bustling centre of commerce and culture in the 18th. The slums that developed in the 19th century were then swept away by the grand constructions of the Royal Courts of Justice and the Victoria Embankment, followed by the new thoroughfares of Aldwych and Kingsway, which are still the major landmarks in the area.
Characterised by its contrasts, St Clement Danes was home to a mix of rich and poor residents, including lawyers, artisans, servants and prostitutes. The history of this fascinating area introduces a cast of characters ranging from the Twinings tea-trading family, to the rowdy theatre-going butchers of Clare Market and from the famous Samuel Johnson, to the infamous pornographers of Holywell Street. This book also unpicks the complicated structure of local government in the parish, and provides detailed accounts of the parish schools and charities.