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

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This text was copied from Wikipedia on 13 April 2024 at 4:11AM.

Cannon Street
Looking west towards St. Paul's Cathedral, close to the entrance to Cannon Street station (2006)
Former name(s)Candelwrichstrete, Candlewick Street, Canwick Street, Cannik Street, Cannin Street
Length0.5 mi (0.80 km)
LocationLondon, United Kingdom
Postal codeEC4
Nearest train stationNational Rail London Underground Cannon Street
London Underground Mansion House
East endKing William Street
West endSt. Paul's Churchyard

Cannon Street is a road in the City of London, the historic nucleus of London and its modern financial centre. It runs roughly parallel with the River Thames, about 250 metres (820 ft) north of it, in the south of the City.

It is the site of the ancient London Stone and gave its name to Cannon Street station, a mainline railway terminus and connected London Underground station.


The area around Cannon Street was initially the place of residence of the candle-makers. The name first appears as Candelwrichstrete (i.e. "Candlewright Street") in 1190.[1] The name was shortened over 60 times[1] as a result of the local cockney dialect and settled on Cannon Street in the 17th century,[2] and is therefore not related to the firearms. The ward of Candlewick is named after the street.[3]

A Cannon Street in Birmingham, according to the archives of Birmingham Central Library, is named after the London street.

Candleriggs, a street in Glasgow, has a name of the same origin and meaning.


In the west, Cannon Street starts at St Paul's Churchyard outside St Paul's Cathedral; running east it meets Queen Victoria Street near Mansion House Underground station, passing Cannon Street station, and finally meets King William Street and Gracechurch Street near Monument tube station.

Cannon Street pictured in 1987. View westward toward St Paul's.

In the late 19th century Cannon Street was occupied by large wholesale warehouses, especially of cotton goods and other fabrics.[4]

London Stone, a historic landmark of uncertain origin, was originally situated in the middle of Cannon Street, opposite St Swithin's Church. It was later set into the wall of the church,[4] and now rests in a Portland stone casing on the north side of the street, opposite Cannon Street station.

The Roman praetorium, or "governor's palace", may also have been located in this area, between the principal street of Roman Londinium and the River Thames. The remains of a very large high status building were found with a garden, water pools and several large halls, some of them decorated with mosaic floors. The plan of the building is only partly preserved, but was erected in the second part of the 1st century and was in use until around 300, rebuilt and renovated several times.

Singer Marc Almond suffered a near-fatal crash in this street in 2004, whilst riding pillion on a motorcycle.

Where Queen Street crosses Cannon Street there is a pedestrian-priority "Central Plaza" area. This was part of an award-winning public realm improvement scheme undertaken in 2006.[5]

Cannon Street formed part of the marathon course of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.[6][7]

Cannon Street has eight pubs (as of 2012) in and around the area which is one of the largest[8] concentrations in the City of London.

Cannon Street also appeared in scene VI of William Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2.[9]

Transport links

Cannon Street station is served by the District and Circle lines on the London Underground and also by Southeastern mainline rail services. The street is also the location of Mansion House tube station, also on the District and Circle lines, and of one of the entrances to Bank station, on the Central, Northern and Waterloo & City lines and the Docklands Light Railway.

London Buses routes 15, 17, 521 and night routes N15 and N199 serve Cannon Street.[10]


  1. ^ a b Loius Zettersten, "City Street Names", (1926)
  2. ^ Smith, A., Dictionary of City of London Street Names, (1970), David & Charles
  3. ^ Candlewick Ward History of the ward
  4. ^ a b Dickens, Charles Jr. "Cannon Street". Dickens's Dictionary of London. Retrieved 22 August 2007.
  5. ^ City of London Corporation Queen Street public realm
  6. ^ IOC. "London 2012 marathon men Results - Olympic athletics". Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  7. ^ IOC. "London 2012 marathon women Results - Olympic athletics". Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  8. ^ "Cannon Street pubs and bars; pubs in Cannon Street". Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  9. ^ "SCENE VI. London. Cannon Street". Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  10. ^ "Cannon Street Station". Transport for London. Retrieved 31 January 2023.

Further reading

  • Herbert Fry (1880), "Cannon Street", London in 1880, London: David Bogue. (bird's eye view)

51°30′43″N 0°5′31″W / 51.51194°N 0.09194°W / 51.51194; -0.09194

7 Annotations

First Reading

Nix  •  Link

From Charles Dickens, Jr.'s (did you know there was one?# Directory of London #1879) --

"Cannon Street is one of the greatest of the improvements which have been effected in modern London. It is a noble thoroughfare of great width, leading from St. Paul's- churchyard to the end of King William-street. Its construction has relieved Cheapside of the greater part of the heavy traffic. Indeed were Cannon. Street now closed, Cheapside would become impassable. Cannon-street is a street of wholesale warehouses, and a few sample goods in each window alone tell the passer-by the nature of the immense stock contained in them. Here are representatives of many of the largest foreign as well as English firms; and there are large stores of goods from Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Sheffield, Belfast and, indeed, from every large manufacturing town in the kingdom. In Cannon-street are the station of the South Eastern Railway, and the Mansion House Station of the Metropolitan, situated at the point where Queen Victoria-street runs diagonally across Cannon-street. In the wall of St. Swithin's Church, opposite the South- Eastern Station, will be found that curious relic of old London, called London Stone. In the Roman days distances were measured from this point. The various narrow streets running between Cannon-street and Cheapside contain many of the most important warehouses and firms of the City. The locality is specially affected by firms connected with the trades in cotton and other textile fabrics."…

I haven't been able to date the "improvement . . . in modern London" he is talking about -- surely later than 1667.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"The medieval Cannon Street -- once Candlewick or Candlewright Street (i.e. candle maker) Street -- was extended west of Walbrook in 1847-54 to plans drawn up by J. B. Bunning in 1846. It superseded the ancient line of Watling Street and Budge Row as the main route E. out of St. Paul's Churchyard. The south side of the medieval part was widened too."

Simon Bradley & Nikolaus Pevsner, "London I. The City of London" (Buildings of England) London: Penguin, 1997 p. 441

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Cannon Street, Watling Street - correctly Candlewick Street, from Candlewick Ward - ran originally from Watling Street to near London Bridge, and was the earliest highway through the City. ... A scene in the second part of King Henry VI. is laid in this street.
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Today on the blog, Greater London Past and Present by Monique Capel appears this story about Candlewick Street with an idea on what those improvements were:

"As commuters hurry to work, few notice the small crypt, with a glass encasement within it, built into the wall of 111 Cannon Street. ...

"There are no precious metals or engravings; it’s not a dazzling artefact you might find in a museum but what it is, and has been as long as records exist, is a literal and metaphorical part of London. To this day, the exact origin of this 53cm-by-43cm-by-30cm piece of rock, known as London Stone, remains a mystery.

"What remains today is only a fraction of the original stone that was once embedded in the ground in the centre of Candlewick Street, now known as Cannon Street, ...

"John Stow, a 16th-Century London historian, wrote in 1598: “It is so strongly set, that if carts do run against it through negligence, the wheels be broken, and the stone itself unshaken.”

"The origin of the London Stone remains a mystery, but records show it has been a significant landmark for hundreds of years and has borne witness to some of the city’s most dramatic moments.

"On 2 September 1666, a fire broke out in a bakery on Pudding Lane. Over the next three to four days The Great Fire of London ravaged the medieval heart of London, destroying more than 13,000 buildings – including those surrounding London Stone. Its position in the middle of the street likely saved the stone from significant damage, but the inferno led to a startling discovery.

"As architects began reconstructing the city, surveyors found that much like an iceberg, the visible stone was only a small portion of a much larger structure.
The ‘root’ of the stone extended around 3m down into the earth.

"It could have been “a kind of Obelisque,” noted Robert Hooke, from the Royal Society. ... This theory was supported by 17th-Century architect Christopher Wren who, through his son, Christopher Wren Jr, later speculated that it could have been “in the manner of the Milliarium Aureum, at Rome”, an ancient monument from which all roads in the Roman Empire began and mileage throughout the empire was measured.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


"Sadly, evidence to support the theories that it formed part of a structure dating from the Roman Empire are sparse and far from conclusive. The idea of sacred stones is a very ancient tradition - monarchs are still crowned on the Stone of Scone, the so-called "stone of destiny", in Westminster Abbey. And the London stone has been the source of speculation right through the capital's history.

"Queen Elizabeth's adviser and occultist, John Dee, was obsessed by the stone, believing that it had magic powers.

"Christopher Wren saw the foundations of the stone being excavated - and believed it to be part of a bigger Roman structure.

"William Blake used the story that the stone had been part of a druid altar - reflecting another belief that it was from a pre-Roman religious stone circle on the site now occupied by St. Paul's Cathedral.

"The persistent story that the stone was the symbolic centre point from which every distance in Roman Britain was measured was already in circulation in the 16th Century.

"But maybe the London stone's most remarkable achievement is to have survived at all - through wars, plagues, fires and even 1960's planning, right in the middle of the financial district of the capital.

"By 1742, with London’s increasingly traffic-clogged streets, the stone had become a hazard and was moved a short distance from the centre of the street to the curb side, and placed by the wall of St. Swithin’s Church.

"In 1940 St Swithin's church was burnt out by bombing in The Blitz. ..." The story continues on how it ended up in the window of 111 Cannon Street.

Then, "We may not know what it was or where it came from, but we dare not move it now – the future of London might just be at stake -- but then again, maybe it’s just a stone."

Third Reading

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




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