Londonist's Back Passage

M@
By M@ Last edited 129 months ago
Londonist's Back Passage

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

SilverPlace.jpg

26. Silver Place

Where? Sticking in Soho for another week, this little cutting will take you from Lexington Street to Hopkin Street.

What? A rather anonymous alleyway, which seems to evade the attentions of the usual reference books. We're not even sure why it's called Silver Place; perhaps as a nominative . A number of markets have existed closeby over the centuries, so perhaps one of these specialised in silver. To the north-east, when the passage was called Pulteney Court, stood the Lion Brewery (1801 to 1937). The brewery played an important role in the history of public health. Many locals died during an outbreak of cholera in 1854. Dr John Snow theorised that this might be down to an infected water source - the Broad Street pump. One of the clinchers in his argument was the lack of fatalities amongst the brewery workers, who rarely drank anything other than beer. Snow thus became the first to demonstrate that cholera is a water-borne disease, the first step in eliminating it as a risk to public health.

Why use? If you're an ageing bohemian and want to remain in Soho. Silver Place perhaps takes its name from the follicular hue of its denizens. To the south-east corner stands Pargiter Court - a residential block now used as retirement flats. A plaque notes that when the building was erected in 1886, the local vestry ordered the inclusion of iron balconies to 'encourage a taste for window gardening'. The ornate ironmongery can still be seen today.

See each and every one of our back passages mapped here

Last Updated 28 February 2007

Monica

This is one of my favourite places in London.
I wonder through this kind of alleys for hours and hours

dave

ahh I miss the old soul jazz record store. I would stroll through here with a smile on y face and bags of tunes under my arms.

Adam Bowie

I don't know for certain why it's called Silver Place, but the street it leads off - Beak Street - used to be called Silver Street according to some of the maps in the now ending map exhibition at the British Library. Silver Street just off Golden Square? It makes some kind of sense.