Apparently an idiom by Ovid, but then his mate Aesop said “Good things come in small packages”. I’m inclined to side with both sentiments, so here’s a few of the smallest things London has to offer.
Until restrictions rendering it pedestrians only, the shortest street was Clenman Street in Borough at 85 feet (26m). But after the restrictions disqualified it from being a “Genuine” street, one that has buildings on it, has it’s own name and allows vehicular access the title now goes to Candover Street in Fitzrovia at 135 feet (41m). I preferred the former as it has a nice pub in it!
Smallest Public Square
This honour goes to Pickering Place in St James, just round the corner from Pall Mall. Enter through the passage on the side of the wine merchants Berry Bros. & Rudd. In the 18th century the square was notorious for its gambling dens, bear baiting and duels! It is even said that Beau Brummel once fought here.
A lot of people will tell you that the narrowest alley in London is Brydges Place, near to Trafalgar Square at 33 inches wide. That’s positively palatial and “you could get a bus through there” (a 32 inch wide bus obviously) in comparison to the real holder of the crown, Emerald Court, near to Great Ormond Street Hospital, which measures a constricting 26 inches, barely wide enough for any portly Georgian gentleman to navigate.Of the two contenders Brydges place is by far the more interesting, facts which I’ll convey in the future.
Undoubtedly this accolade is held by St Ethelburga’s Bishopsgate. The structure of the church is a rare survivor of the medieval City churches that were mostly destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666, although it was extensively damaged by an IRA bomb in 1993 and had to be rebuilt. Approximately 56 1/2 feet long and 30 feet high it also had the added record of having the smallest parish, whose boundaries were only three acres (12,000 m2) in area.