I am going to do this walk in two parts as I am still checking a few details and stiil trying to arrang e the walk in a logical sequence.
We will start outside the National Gallery just galnce into Trafalgar Square and see if you can spot Londons smallest Police station, I will tell you where it is a the end of the walk
Facing the gallery turn left towards Pall Mall, then turn right into Haymarket this is called by this name after the amrket tha was here from 1657 to 1686. The market was set up to sell hay and straw mainlyto the Kings mews where upwards of 300 hundred horses were kept, eventualy the market started selling sheep and cattle. James 2nd closed the market down as the smell was to great. Vno houses from this period remain, although number34 dates from the 1700`s and was a tobbaco shop. Continue up Haymarket and turn left into Orange Street, stop and look up at the building on the south side, there you will see one of London`s oldest street signs, It says James Street 1673 which is the was the name untill it changed . Ifyou walk further along the street you will see th eHand and Raquet pub named after the tennis court that was here by in 1634. Further along is the congregational church built in 1829 this replaced a ealier chapel where the Rev Toplady preached and also wrote Rock of Ages.
We will retrace are steps to the Haymarket and carry on up into Picaddily and then into Shaftsbury avenue, Turn left in to Great Windmill Street, like all street names it means something, in this case it is named after the Windmill that stood on this site in the middle 17th century grinding corn Continue up the street and turn right into Brewer St, so named after all the breweries tha were on this street. We are now entering the less salubrious area of Soho, but nothing to worry about, take a small alley way ony uor left either Green court or Walkers court, then turn right into Peter St a few yards along and we turn into Berwick St. This is where the street market happens Monday to Saturday, selling fresh fruit and vegetables, fish etc. I fyo look closely at the end of the costamongers barrows you will see some writing. These barrows are peculiar to London in the fact that the costamonger does not own the barrow but rents them, the maker owner has his name on the barrow in his own writing whic he would recognise anywhere. You will still here them crying there wares in the old style. Continue up the street and turn right into Broadwick street then right again and walk down Wardour St.
On your left hand side you will some metal rail;ings and gate way into an old church yard. Walk into this schurch yard and climb the steps. The reason you are climbing the steps is that 10,000 parishioners are buried beneath yor feet and this has raised the ground level. This is the grave yard of St Anne`s church the tower is all that is left after the church was destroyed by a bomb in the second world war. Dorothy L Sayers the well known authors ashes are buried in the crypt of the tower as she was a church warden of the parish. Leave the churchyard and turn left down Wardour St and cross over Shaftsbury Ave, carry on down Wardour st and take the second left into Gerrad St, look up to see the tailors sign and see the letters under neath BAIS 1866 this actualy says" Been AT It Since 1866". You have keep your eyes open as these signs appear all over London and some are old.
Continue along Gerrad st and turn left into Gerrad Place then right onto Shaftsbury avenue, go straight across cambridge circus, but look for the clock out side Pizza Hut, this used to be a gentlemens outfitter, the naked ladieswould have gone well with the shop. Turn into Earlham St and look up to see the old metal sign for F W Collins, elastic glue manufacturer carry on down the street and you enter a junction called Seven Dials. This area of once respectable houses in Dickens time became a notorious slum full of petty thieves and criminals, dickens describes tharea in Sketches by Boz. No respectable person would enter this area, the people who lived here were desparately poor and families of five and six people lived in one room with no furniture. The area was clearde when Charing cross Rd and Shaftsbury ave were built.Turn right and head down Monmouth St into St Martins Lane look up and see two signs one to a Saddler and Harness maker the other to Thomas Chippendale the famous furniture maker who had his workshop here.
I think it is time you had a rest so head to the Salisbury Public house this is one of the few Victorian public houses left in central London it dates from 1852 it has spendid braswork and cut glass decorations and artr noveau lamps. Enjoy your drink.
I will post the second part of this walk later.