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

Open location in Google Maps: 51.518197, -0.093260


This text was copied from Wikipedia on 19 September 2021 at 6:02AM.

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Ward of Cripplegate
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Ward of Cripplegate is located in Greater London
Ward of Cripplegate
Ward of Cripplegate
Location within Greater London
Population2,782 (2011 Census. Ward)[1]
OS grid referenceTQ327811
Sui generis
Administrative areaGreater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townLONDON
Postcode districtEC3
Dialling code020
PoliceCity of London
UK Parliament
London Assembly

Cripplegate was a gate in the London Wall which once enclosed the City of London.

The gate gave its name to the Cripplegate ward of the City which straddles the line of the former wall and gate, a line which continues to divide the ward into two parts: Cripplegate Within and Cripplegate Without,[2] 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.

Until World War II, the area approximating to Cripplegate Without was commonly known as simply Cripplegate.The area was almost entirely destroyed in the Blitz of World War II causing the term to fall out of colloquial speech. Cripplegate Without is the site of the Barbican Estate and Barbican Centre, with a small part of these lying in neighbouring Aldersgate Without.

The gate

An illustration of the gate, c. 1650.
Cripplegate plaque

The origins of the gate's name are unclear.[3] One theory, bolstered by a mentioning of the gate in the fourth law code of Æthelred the Unready and a charter of William the Conqueror from 1068 under the name "Crepelgate",[4] is that it takes its name from the Anglo-Saxon word crepel, meaning a covered or underground passageway.

Another unsubstantiated theory suggests it is named after the cripples who used to beg there.[5] 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.

The ward

Location within the City, after the 21st century boundary changes
Ancient boundaries of the City Wards, prior to 2003

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]

The modern City of London spreads across a square mile of land and remains divided into 25 geographic areas, or 'Wards'. Four of these Wards (Aldersgate, Portsoken, Queenhithe and Cripplegate), are described as 'Residential' as they contain the vast majority of all City residents.


The Ward of Cripplegate provides part of the Northern edge of the City and stretches from just below Old Street, down to London Wall at its Southern tip, where it meets the Ward of Bassishaw. To the West is the Ward of Aldersgate and on the Eastern edge is Coleman Street.

The 2003 Ward Boundary Review recommended some significant changes for a number of Wards and these were eventually implemented in 2013.[6]

The Cripplegate Ward boundary used to extend a great deal further South, all the way down to Cheapside in fact. The Ward was home to the Livery Halls of 6 Worshipful Companies and now only one remains (The Barber-Surgeons in Monkwell Square).[6]

Each Ward is represented by an assembly called the 'Court of Common Council'. This consists of 100 Common Councilmen and 25 Alderman (one for each Ward). The number of Councilmen allocated to each particular Ward is based on the size of the electorate and where Cripplegate used to warrant 12 members of Council it is now reduced to 9.[6]

The Ward is promoted by the Cripplegate Ward Club. Founded in 1878, The Cripplegate Ward Club is a social organisation, encouraging its members to take an interest in the Civic affairs of the City, while also supporting appeals and charitable activities. Cripplegate is among the busiest of the 20+ Ward Clubs in the City of London, with a varied programme of events throughout the year.

Jewin Crescent painting at the Imperial War Museum

The gate's name is preserved in the church of St Giles-without-Cripplegate which is sited immediately outside the site of the former gate.

A small road named Cripplegate Street which lies slightly to the north of the site of the gate between Viscount Street and Bridgewater Street.[7]

History of the ward

The Wards of London appear to have taken shape in the 11th century, before the Norman Conquest. Their administrative, judicial and military purpose made them equivalent to Hundreds in the countryside. The primary purpose of Wards like Cripplegate, which included a gate, appears to have been the defence of the gate,[8] as gates were the weakest points in any fortification.

Cripplegate Without was, in the 11th, 12th and possibly later centuries, part of an area outside the northern wall called the Soke of Cripplegate, held by the church of St. Martin's Le Grand.[9]

In 1068, a burial site, where Jewin Street now stands, was the only place in England where Jews were permitted to be buried. Those living elsewhere in the country were forced, at great expense and inconvenience, to bring their dead there.[10]

The philosopher Thomas More writer of Utopia was born on Milk Street in 1478.

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'.[11]

During the Second World War, the Cripplegate area, a centre of the rag trade,[12] 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.

Tranter's Hotel was located at 6–9 Bridgewater Square,[13] in a Georgian building with 60 rooms available,[14] not far from today’s Beech Street, before being destroyed by the World War II bombs. It was advertised in a number of periodicals and magazines between 1887 and 1919 as a very centrally located, family and commercial, temperance-friendly hotel, convenient for St Paul’s Cathedral and Aldersgate station, for business and pleasure.[15]


Current elected representatives in Cripplegate are David Graves (Alderman), Mark Bostock, David Bradshaw, Mary Durcan, Vivienne Littlechild, Susan Pearson, William Pimlott, Stephen Quilter and John Tomlinson.[16]

In the 2017 City-wide Common Council elections, the Labour Party won two seats in Cripplegate ward with local residents Mary Durcan and William Pimlott making Labour gains.[17] The Labour Party won a record total of five seats on the Common Council in March 2017 winning two seats in Portsoken, two seats in Cripplegate ward and one seat in Aldersgate ward.[18]

Following a boundary change in 1994, the Golden Lane Estate was transferred from Islington to the City, and so Cripplegate is today the most populous of the four residential wards of the City, with a population of 2,782 (2011).

Other uses

Cripplegate Foundation

The foundation dates its origins to the donation of £40 "to provide trousers for local people" on 2 April 1500.[19] However it was only in 1891 that various local trusts were consolidated into the Cripplegate Foundation by the London Parochial Charities Act.[19] Between 1896 and 1973 the foundation ran the Cripplegate Institute.[19] From 1 April 2008 the area of benefit was expanded to include Islington. John Gilbert is the chair of the foundation, having been on the board of governors since 2005.[19]

Cripplegate Bank

The Cripplegate Savings Bank was established in 1819 as a joint stock bank, then re-registered as Cripplegate Bank Ltd in 1879, and finally renamed London, Commercial & Cripplegate Bank Ltd in 1900.[20] In between 1876-1906 the Cripplegate Bank was located at 31 and then 1 Whitecross Street, before been incorporated into the Union Bank of London, and finally been liquidated.[21]

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[22] It was filmed in the chapel of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.[23]

Cripplegate makes an appearance in the 2020 video game, Assassin's Creed: Valhalla as one of the restricted areas in London.

See also


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  1. ^ .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}"City of London Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  2. ^ Cripplegate Ward News Archived 12 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine - note use of "Within" and "Without" on page 4
  3. ^ Harben, Henry (1918). A Dictionary of London. London.
  4. ^ 'Saxon London', by Alan Vince, 1990, p43
  5. ^ 'Cripplegate, one of the 26 Wards of the City of London' Baddesley, J.J p91: London; Blades, East & Blades; 1921
  6. ^ a b c d e Caroline Fiona Gordon (1985), The Ward of Cripplegate in the City of London, London: Cripplegate Ward Club, OL 14531369M
  7. ^ A-Z London. Geographer's A-Z Map Co Ltd. 2001. p. 162. ISBN 0-85039-753-7.
  8. ^ London 800-1216: The Shaping of a City, Brook and Keir Ch 7
  9. ^ Archaeological Excavations at Moor House, Jeremy Haslam p48
  10. ^ Light for the last days (1888), H Grattan Guinness D.D., FRAS>
  11. ^ Herbert, William, The History of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of London (London, Wm Herbert, 1836) pp. 80-81 at
  12. ^ Tom Bolton (24 June 2015). "From Cripplegate to Agar Town: inside London's vanished neighbourhoods". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 June 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.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Black's Guide to Edinburgh". A. and C. Black. 1903.
  15. ^ "An Almanack for the Year of Our Lord". 1848.
  16. ^ Find Member - Results by ward: Cripplegate
  17. ^ In the 2017 City-wide Common Council elections, the Labour Party won two seats in Cripplegate ward with local residents Mary Durcan and William Pimlott making Labour gains [1]
  18. ^ The Labour Party won a record total of five seats on the Common Council in March 2017 winning two seats in Portsoken, two seats in Cripplegate ward and one seat in Aldersgate ward [2]
  19. ^ a b c d "History". Cripplegate Foundation Limited. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  20. ^ "London, Commercial & Cripplegate Bank Ltd". RBS Heritage Hub. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  21. ^
  22. ^ Sic : Cripplegate is in the EC3 postcode area.
  23. ^ Four Weddings and a Funeral Archived 18 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine at

External links

4 Annotations

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Daniel Foe (his original name) was probably born in the parish of St. Giles Cripplegate, London in 1660. His father, James Foe, was a member of the Butchers' Company, was a prosperous tallow chandler.

The Great Fire of London (1666) left only Defoe's and two other homes standing in his neighborhood.

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