Down Your Alley: Turnagain Lane

I thought Turnagain Lane was the perfect metaphor for what’s going on in the Palace of Westminster at the present time.

To reach Turnagain Lane go from Holborn Viaduct walk down the steps onto Farringdon Street. Turnagain Lane is then on the east side.

Until the Fleet River was covered over this was a little lane that ran from Old Bailey down to the river bank.

[T]here is no bridge crossing at this point, it was impossible to proceed any further and the only option was to return to Old Bailey – or as John Stow inscribed:

It turneth down to Turnemill brook,
and from thence back again,
for there is no way over


Turnagain Lane

In other words, it was a cul-de-sac stopped by the river. In the 13th century, it was known as Wendageyneslane and in the 15th century as Turneagayne Lane. The Lane now is more reminiscent of a triangularly shaped yard with the white glazed brick building of Meridian House on the south side. Turnagain Lane is still a cul-de-sac but now you must ‘wendagain’ to Farringdon Street.


CabbieBlog-cabMuch of the original source material for Down Your Alley has been derived from Ivor Hoole’s GeoCities website. The site is now defunct and it is believed Ivor is no more. Thankfully much of Ivor’s work has been archived by Ian Visits and Phil Gyford.

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