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|Ward of Cripplegate|
Ward of Cripplegate shown within Greater London
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|Sui generis||City of London|
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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.
The ward of Cripplegate straddles the (now former) line of the Wall and the old gate and is often (even today) 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.
During the Second World War the Cripplegate area, a center of the rag trade, 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. 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 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. The early records are unreliable as regards who the Aldermen were, but from 1286 there is a more reliable list of Aldermen available.
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 It was filmed in the chapel of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.
- A-Z London. Geographer's A-Z Map Co Ltd. 2001. p. 162. ISBN 0-85039-753-7.
- Cripplegate Ward News - note use of "Within" and "Without" on page 4
- Herbert, William, The History of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of London (London, Wm Herbert, 1836) pp. 80-81 at books.google.co.uk
- 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.
- Harben, Henry (1918). A Dictionary of London. London.
- Caroline Fiona Gordon (1985), The Ward of Cripplegate in the City of London, London: Cripplegate Ward Club
- Sic : Cripplegate is in the EC3 postcode area.
- Four Weddings and a Funeral at movie-locations.com
- Old and New London and A New History of London — two historical sources on the ward from British History Online
- Map of Early Modern London: Cripplegate Ward - Historical Map and Encyclopedia of Shakespeare's London(Scholarly)