Londonist's Back Passage

By M@ Last edited 149 months ago
Londonist's Back Passage

A tribute to the capital’s alleys, ginnels and snickleways.

4. Ely Court, EC1

Where? Semi-visible snicket linking the enigmatic Ely Place to Hatton Garden.

What? Anyone who claims familiarity with London’s passageways will know that we had to cover this one sooner rather than later. As well as being Elizabeth I’s alleyway of choice, it was once patrolled by a costumed beadle and wasn’t considered part of London at all. So much oddness in so little space.

Why use? The Old Mitre Tavern, one of London’s canonical must-see boozers, takes up the north side. This is the Lizzy link. She once danced around a maypole tree at this place, and the stump in the bar is a remnant of this – or so the legend goes.

Also good for? Evading arrest. The long arm of the law needs to be rather elastic if it’s to reach you down here. The passage and connecting Ely Place are traditionally part of Cambridgeshire, so neither the Met nor the City Police can wield authority. A ‘fact’ particularly handy for gem thieves, given the convenience of the Hatton Garden diamond quarter. Sadly, the more responsible sources for some reason insist on accuracy over anecdote, and claim this quirk of law is no longer the case. Bah!

Last Updated 10 August 2006