Re: London Calling

Dear Editor

I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Beyond the streets of London’ (last week’s edition), but could I please correct a few misconceptions? Unfortunately the wonderful anomaly that there are ‘no roads in the City of London’ is no longer true as due to boundary changes in 1994, part of Goswell Road sits firmly in the Square Mile. Technically, though, I suppose one could still say there’s not a single road in the Square Mile as it only counts as half a road!

Bleeding Heart Yard, which incidentally is not in the City of London but in the London Borough of Camden, is apparently named after a 16th-century inn sign, dating back to the time of the Reformation, that was displayed on a pub called the Bleeding Heart in nearby Charles Street. The gruesome murder of Lady Elizabeth Hatton took place the following century in 1626.

Regarding driving on the right to enter Savoy Court, off the Strand … it might be of interest to note that the press office at the Savoy Hotel recently put out the following statement: “For more than 100 years now, vehicles, be they horse-drawn or mechanical, have entered and left ‘Savoy Court’ on the right-hand side of the road. This is due primarily to the construction of the ‘court’. When approaching and leaving the hotel it is easier to do so while driving on the right-hand side of the road. Savoy Court is privately owned property. It is not a public thoroughfare as it leads only to the hotel and the Savoy Theatre. Therefore driving on the right-hand side of the road does not contravene British traffic regulations.

Finally, it may be of interest to note that when being chauffeured in a horse-drawn carriage the lady or dignitary would traditionally sit behind the driver. By approaching the hotel on the right-hand side of the road, either the chauffeur or the hotel’s doorman was able to open the door without walking around the car. This would allow the lady to alight from the carriage and walk straight into the hotel.”

Another instance of driving on the right in London can be found at Hammersmith Bus Station where the entrance and exit force drivers to the right which is all very confusing for pedestrians!

Chris Wright