Londonist's Back Passage

By M@ Last edited 147 months ago
Londonist's Back Passage

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


14. New Turnstile

Where? Refurbished shortcut at the back of Holborn Tube station.

What? The most recent and blandest of several 'turnstiles' in the area - Great Turnstile and Little Turnstile are the others. These alleys once contained gateposts to prevent livestock escaping from the grazing areas now known as Lincoln's Inn Fields. No sign of the posts, or the sheep, remains today. In fact, there's no sign of anything but wheelie bins down the curiosity vacuum that is New Turnstile. Perhaps that's why Camden Council decided to install the crazy, wobbly paving you see in the picture. Whoooa, how whacky.

Why use? In conjunction with the marginally more exciting Gate Street, this forms one of London's most useful shortcuts. Holborn station in the rush hour is one of London's most pressing pedestrian bottlenecks and several people have paid with their lives on the dangerous crossroads outside. Cutting down these back streets is much quicker than forcing your way through the throng.

Also good for? The bendy paving undulates with the perfect frequency to counter the swaying effects of alcohol. Especially useful in Holborn, whose many great pubs include The Ship Tavern on nearby Little Turnstile.

Last Updated 02 November 2006