A tribute to the capital’s alleys, ginnels and snickleways
15. Bull Inn Court
Where? Long, sloping alley dropping from Maiden Lane down to Strand.
What? Named after, unsurprisingly, the Bull Inn tavern, which once stood at the foot of the hill. A narrow cutting between the Adelphi and Vaudeville theatres widens in the middle, allowing in a little daylight. Charmingly spooky, if you ignore the smell.
Why use? This alley checks all our boxes. 1. It has history. Actor William Terris was murdered 'yards from this spot' in 1897, according to a notice toward the Strand end. This is slightly stretching the truth, as Terris was actually stabbed round the corner on Maiden Lane. With his dieing breath he vowed to return, and his spectre has been spotted by the credulous in several local spots, including Covent Garden Tube. 2. It has a good pub. The Nell Gwynne, named of course for the famous mistress of Charles II, who lived locally. The Nell is a tiny, old-man sort of place, with a winningly old-fashioned interior and several real ales. Also has its own ghost and 'Hellish stairs to the toilets'. 3. The cutting is eminently practical for avoiding herds of tourists in surrounding Covent Garden precincts.
Also good for? Homeless sleeping and pavement pissing, judging from the smell.