The Commercial Landscape
Situated a mere two blocks from the Tower of London (upper left) and from the Thames (below right), All Hallows Staining was part of the architectural fabric of a governmental and commercial district, the latter including St. Katherine Docks (see far left) and the London Docks. The small parish was located near the border of east London, just to the west of the ancient city walls and Tower.
The streets below - Mark Lane, Mincing Lane, Fenchurch Street, and Lower Thames Street - were home to large-scale commercial activity, much of it driven by trade within the vast British Empire. All fell within less than a five-minute walk from All Hallows Staining. Doré's engravings depict a rather gritty view of the mid-Victorian docks and surrounding areas. These may or may not have been reflective of reality: the British Library notes that Doré's and Jerrold's work has been criticized for stressing societal extremes.
Mark Lane was home to the first Corn Exchange (see left) opened in 1747. The exchange was built for the sale of oats, beans, and grain brought from the Bear Quay, located in stall six, just to the east of the Tower along the Thames. The Corn Exchange was designed by George Dance the Elder, with an open courtyard surrounded by stalls with samples of goods. The London Corn Exchange, built with permission of Parliament by rival traders, joined the former on Mark Lane in 1826. Both exchanges were located on the east side of the street in the block south of All Hallows Staining.
Mincing Lane and Dunster Court
Like Mark Lane, Mincing Lane was a center of trade, particularly for tea, spices, and opium. It was also the base for businesses such as Hibbert, Purrier, and Horton, whose trade extended to the slave trade in the West Indies. Mincing Lane is home to both the New Commercial Sales Rooms and to the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers (see below), the latter built after the Great Fire; the building shown was destroyed in the Blitz of 1941.
Fenchurch Street once featured the tap room the Elephant and Castle. It had survived the Fire of London in 1665 and was known for its lodging of William Hogarth. By 1776, with a new building on the same site, the tap room became known as the Elephant in Fenchurch Street, a name still in use in 1855.
In 1457, the Ironmongers Company - one of 'Twelve Great Livery Companies of London' - was originally associated with the trade of iron and with charitable works. They purchased buildings on Fenchurch Street, converting them into a hall. Rebuilt in 1587, then again in 1745, the Georgian-era Ironmongers Hall survived until WWI, when it was damaged by a German bomb, 7 July 1917.
Fenchurch Street Station, opened in 1841 to serve the London & Blackwell Railway to east London and south Essex. It was rebuilt shortly after in 1854.
Lower Thames Street
Designed by David Laing, the surveyor to the Board of Customs, the new Custom House was built on a site to the west of the old one in Lower Thames Street. Plans of the Customs House, which opened in 1817, detail warehouse and office spaces. The engraved and etched 'View of the Custom House from the Thames' shows barges and ships in the foreground, with the dome of St Paul's in the distance. A view along Lower Thames Street shows the Custom House from the north.