Eloise Millar • Link
Wood Street crops up in Anne Halkett's account of the (future) James II's escape from St James's Palace, during the Civil War. She writes of "having sent for a Wood-street cake (which I knew he loved)". Does anyone know whether "Wood-street cake" was a specific recipe, or whether the street was known for its bakeries?
Wood Street, Cheapside, runs from Cheapside into London Wall. Stow has two suppositions about the origin of the name: first, that it was so called because it was built throughout of wood; and secondly, and more probably, that it was so called after Thomas Wood, one of the sheriffs in the year 1491, who dwelt in this street, an especial benefactor to the church of St. Peter-in-Cheap, and the individual at whose expense "the beautiful front of houses in Cheap over against Wood Street end were built." "His predecessors," says Stow, "might be the first builders, owners, and namers of this street." ... In Strype's time the street was famous for the manufacture of wedding-cakes.
At the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears,
Hangs a thrush that sings loud, it has sung for three years:
Poor Susan has passed by the spot, and has heard
In the silence of morning, the song of the Bird.
'Tis a note of enchantment; what ails her? She sees
A mountain ascending, a vision of trees;
Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide,
And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside.
Wordsworth, The Reverie of Poor Susan, 1797
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.