The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 51.510845, -0.081506


This text was copied from Wikipedia on 5 July 2024 at 3:10AM.

Mincing Lane
Looking north up Mincing Lane, with Minster Court on the right and 30 St Mary Axe in the background
Length0.1 mi (0.16 km)
LocationLondon, United Kingdom
Postal codeEC3
Nearest Tube stationLondon Underground Monument
North endFenchurch Street
ToGreat Tower Street

Mincing Lane is a short one-way street in the City of London linking Fenchurch Street to Great Tower Street. In the late 19th century it was the world's leading centre for tea and spice trading.


Its name is a corruption of Mynchen Lane, so-called from the tenements held there by the Benedictine mynchens or nuns of the nearby St Helen's Bishopsgate church (from Minicen, Anglo-Saxon for a nun; minchery, a nunnery).[1]

A Dictionary of London by Henry A. Harben (1918) describes it as follows:[2]

Mincing Lane

North out of Great Tower Street to Fenchurch Street at No. 42 (P.O. Directory). In Tower and Langbourn Wards.
Earliest mention: "Menechinelane," 1273-4 (Ct. H.W. I. 17).
Other forms of name: "Mengenelane," 1290-1 (ib. 95). "Mangonelane," 1291 (ib. 96). "Monechenelane," 1291 (ib. 101). "Menchenelane," 1294-5 (ib. 119). "Manionelane," 1295 (ib. 121) and 1311 (Cal. L. Bk. D. p. 77). "Menchonelane," 1304 (Ct. H.W. I. 162). "Manchonlane," 1306-7 (ib. 184). "Menionelane," 1312 (ib. 230). "Mangonelane," 1320 (ib. 288). "Mengonelane," 1321 (ib. 292). "Mengeoneslane," 1324 (ib. 309). "Mengeonlane," 1330 (ib. 361). "Myniounlane," 1349 (ib. 577). "Munchenlane," 1348-9 (ib. 528). "Monechunelane," 1349 (ib. 553). "Manchonelane," 36 Ed. III. (Ch. I. p.m. pt. 2, 71). "Minchonlane," 1393 (Ct. H.W. II. 299). "Mynchenlane," 1398-9 (ib. 337). "Mynchyn lane," 28 H. VIII. (Lond. I. p.m. Lond. and Midd. Arch. Soc. VII. (p. 55). "Mynsing Lane," 1601 (H. MSS. Com. Salisbury, XI. 315).
The A.S. word "mynechenu" = female of "munuc" = monk.
Halliwell in his Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words gives "Minch" = a nun, and it is suggested that this street derives its name through this word from the A.S. "mynechenu," the "mynchens" or nuns of St. Helens who held property there.
At the north-eastern end of this lane remains of a Roman bath, hypocaust, etc., have been found, and Roman pavements on the western side of the street.

In addition, the entry "Mngenelane" in Harben's Dictionary suggests "Mngenelane = Mengenelane".


It was for some years the world's leading centre for tea and spice trading after the British East India Company successfully took over all trading ports from the Dutch East India Company in 1799. It was also the centre of the British opium business (comprising 90% of all transactions), as well as other drugs in the 18th century.[3] Businesses in the British slave trade, such as Hibbert, Purrier and Horton (founded 1770), were based in Mincing Lane.

It is mentioned in chapter 16 of Charles Dickens' Our Mutual Friend, where it is briefly described:

"[Bella] arrived in the drug-flavoured region of Mincing Lane, with the sensation of having just opened a drawer in a chemist's shop."

It was mentioned by Round the Horne radio show scriptwriters, who regularly used the proper noun word 'Mincing' in the Polari-Adjectival sense, meaning an effeminate, male gait.

In 1834, when the East India Company ceased to be a commercial enterprise, and tea became a 'free trade' commodity, tea auctions were held in the London Commercial Salerooms on Mincing Lane. Tea merchants established offices in and around the street, earning it the nickname 'Street of Tea'.[4]

A notable building is the livery hall of the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers. The current building, opened in 1958, is the sixth to stand on the site; the fourth was burnt down in the Great Fire of London and the fifth was destroyed during the Blitz of World War II.[5]

A modern landmark partly bounded by Mincing Lane is Plantation Place, completed in 2004, and its sister building Plantation Place South.

Minster Court

Minster Court viewed from 22 Bishopsgate

Minster Court is a complex of three office buildings, completed between 1991 and 1992 and designed by architects GMW Partnership.[6] During the final phase of fitting-out on 7 August 1991, there was a fire in the atrium of No. 3 Minster Court which caused a serious delay in completion, and over £100 million worth of damage.[7] The style has been described as "postmodern-gothic".[8]

Group of three horses at Minster Court, City of London

In the forecourt, on Mincing Lane, are three bronze horses that are each over 3 metres tall, sculpted by Althea Wynne; they have been nicknamed "Dollar", "Yen" and "Sterling".[9]

It appeared briefly in Disney's 1996 live-action movie 101 Dalmatians as the exterior of Cruella De Vil's haute couture fashion house, "House of DeVil".[10] It also appeared as the location of the architectural practice of Peter Manson (played by Trevor Eve) in the 2010 remake of Bouquet of Barbed Wire. The stairs leading to the forecourt also appeared briefly in the 1999 music video for the song "Coffee & TV" by the British rock band Blur.[11]

The London Underwriting Centre was situated at No. 3 Minster Court, and was an underwriting room that was run parallel to the Lloyd's of London underwriting room.[12] The centre was notable for its hanging escalators, consisting of Europe's largest free-standing escalator bank.[13] In 2016, the centre was closed, with the escalators removed and the building redeveloped into offices.[14]


  1. ^ "Brewer, E. Cobham. Dictionary of Phrase & Fable. Mincing Lane (London)". Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  2. ^ Mincing Lane,
  3. ^ Booth, Martin (1996). Opium: A History. pp. 52–53. The centre of opium business was around Mincing Lane in London, where 90 per cent of the trade was conducted.
  4. ^ "UK Tea & Infusions Association". Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  5. ^ " - oldlondonmaps Resources and Information". Archived from the original on 10 November 2006. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  6. ^ McManus, David (17 September 2008). "Minster Court, City of London Building". e-architect. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  7. ^ Smith, Kristina (21 August 1997). "Trailblazing code can cut fire risk". Construction News. Retrieved 12 February 2023. IT IS six years since the last major fire on a construction site; that was the blaze at the London Underwriting Centre, Minster Court, in August 1991, which caused over £100 million-worth of damage.
  8. ^ Boardman, David. "Minster Court - Mincing Lane, London, UK". Archived from the original on 12 February 2023. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  9. ^ "Althea Wynne (obituary)". The Daily Telegraph. 14 February 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  10. ^ "101 Dalmatians filming locations". Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  11. ^ "Blur - Coffee And TV - YouTube". Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  12. ^ "No.1 Minster Court, London - Building #139". Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  13. ^ Adams, R.W. (6 December 1994). "The Hanging Escalators of the London Underwriting Centre". The Institution of Structural Engineers. 72 (23/24): 380.
  14. ^ "3 Minster Court". FREO Group. 11 February 2023. Archived from the original on 11 February 2023. Retrieved 11 February 2023.

External links

Media related to Mincing Lane at Wikimedia Commons

51°30′39″N 0°04′54″W / 51.51083°N 0.08167°W / 51.51083; -0.08167

2 Annotations

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Mincing Lane, Fenchurch Street to Tower Street, City.
Mincheon Lane, so called of tenements there some time pertaining to the Minchuns or Nuns of St. Helen's in Bishopsgate Street. ... In this lane of old time dwelt divers strangers, born of Genoa and those parts; these were commonly called Galley-men, as men that came up in the galleys, brought up wines and other merchandizes which they landed in Thames Street at a place called Galley Key; they had a certain coin of silver amongst themselves, which were halfpence of Genoa, and were called Galley-halfpence; these halfpence were forbidden in the 13th of Henry IV. and again by parliament in the 4th of Henry V. ... Notwithstanding in my youth I have seen them pass current, but with some difficulty, for that the English halfpence were then, though not so broad, somewhat thicker and stronger. —Stow, p. 50.
Sir John Robinson, Lieutenant of the Tower, and Lord Mayor of London, about whom there is much that is interesting in Mrs. Hutchinson's Memoirs, lived in this lane.
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.

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