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Ward of Cripplegate
Ward of Cripplegate is located in Greater London
Ward of Cripplegate
Ward of Cripplegate
 Ward of Cripplegate shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ327811
Sui generis City of London
Administrative area Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district EC3
Dialling code 020
Police City of London
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Cities of London and Westminster
London Assembly City and East
List of places

Coordinates: 51°31′08″N 0°05′38″W / 51.519°N 0.094°W / 51.519; -0.094

Cripplegate was a gate in the London Wall and a name for the region of the City of London outside the gate. The area was almost entirely destroyed in the Blitz of World War II and today it is the site of the Barbican Estate and Barbican Centre. The name is preserved in the church of St Giles-without-Cripplegate, in the Cripplegate ward of the City, and in a small road named Cripplegate Street which lies slightly to the north of the site of the Wall between Viscount Street and Bridgewater Street.[1]

The ward of Cripplegate straddles the (now former) line of the Wall and the old gate and is often (even today)[2] divided into "Within" and "Without" parts, with a beadle and a deputy (alderman) appointed for each part. Since the 1994 (City) and 2003 (ward) boundary changes, most of the ward is Without, with the ward of Bassishaw having expanded considerably into the Within area.


An old illustration of the gate, c. 1650.

In 1555, John Gresham endowed the new Gresham's School in Norfolk with three tenements in the parish of St. Giles Without Cripplegate, including 'The White Hind' and 'The Peacock'.[3]

During the Second World War the Cripplegate area, a center of the rag trade,[4] was virtually destroyed and by 1951 the resident population of the City stood at only 5,324, of whom 48 lived in Cripplegate. Discussions began in 1952 about the future of the area, and the decision to build new residential properties was taken by the Court of Common Council on 19 September 1957. The area was reopened as the Barbican Estate in 1969. Cripplegate is today the most populous of the four residential wards of the City, with a population of 2,782 (2011).


It is not certain what is the origin of the name.[5] One theory, bolstered by the gate's mentions in the fourth law code of Æthelred the Unready and a charter of William the Conqueror from 1068 under the name 'Crepelgate' ('Saxon London', by Alan Vince, 1990, p43), is that it is named for the Anglo-Saxon word for a covered or underground passageway: crepel. Another unsubstantiated theory suggests it is so-called because of the cripples who used to beg there; the name of the nearby medieval church of St Giles-without-Cripplegate lends credence to this suggestion as Saint Giles is the patron saint of cripples and lepers.

Cripplegate ward

Location within the City

Cripplegate is one of the 25 ancient wards of the City of London, each electing an alderman to the Court of Aldermen and commoners (the City equivalent of a councillor) to the Court of Common Council of the City of London Corporation. Only electors who are Freemen of the City are eligible to stand. In the early 12th century, the area was originally referred to as Alwoldii which was probably the name of the current alderman.[6] The early records are unreliable as regards who the Aldermen were, but from 1286 there is a more reliable list of Aldermen available.[6]

In popular culture

The second wedding in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral takes place in the fictional church of St. Mary of the Fields, Cripplegate, EC2[7] It was filmed in the chapel of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.[8]

See also


  1. ^ A-Z London. Geographer's A-Z Map Co Ltd. 2001. p. 162. ISBN 0-85039-753-7. 
  2. ^ Cripplegate Ward News - note use of "Within" and "Without" on page 4
  3. ^ Herbert, William, The History of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of London (London, Wm Herbert, 1836) pp. 80-81 at
  4. ^ Tom Bolton (June 24, 2015). "From Cripplegate to Agar Town: inside London's vanished neighbourhoods". The Guardian. Retrieved June 24, 2015. by the second world war, Cripplegate had become “Fire Island”, the highest-insurance-risk area in London, occupied by rag trade warehouses packed with tinder-box stock. 
  5. ^ Harben, Henry (1918). A Dictionary of London. London. 
  6. ^ a b Caroline Fiona Gordon (1985), The Ward of Cripplegate in the City of London, London: Cripplegate Ward Club 
  7. ^ Sic : Cripplegate is in the EC3 postcode area.
  8. ^ Four Weddings and a Funeral at

External links

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.