I had a Homer Simpson realisation today.
A few weeks ago I wrote about my surprise at finding Bull Inn Court on the north side of the Strand, because I never walk on that side of the street. During my perusal of the court I discovered another alley about 30 yards back down the Strand called Exchange Court which I traversed and photographed. Quite a narrow alley in places with a grand building at the Strand end and a couple of restaurants at the far end. Job done, catalogued and awaiting a bit of research at a later date.
Sat down today with a cuppa and a quite fascinating publication called “The Chronological Historian, Or, A Record of Public Events“, more of which later. I was skimming, reading random text when I came across the following entry for January 12th 1753;
About twelve o’clock at night the public house known by the sign of the Heathcock in the Strand, fell down to the ground in a sliding manner, into an adjoining court, which was thought to be occasioned by some houses rebuilding on the other side. It so fortunately happened that all the company were just gone, though the mistress of the house who was in bed fell from the second floor into the court, but the bed falling under her, and the timber lying hollow, she got little or no hurt.
Wanting to find out more I looked up Heathcock Court on a contemporary map and found that the court ran from the Strand and connected with Exchange Court. Referencing it against a modern map found that it still exists. I sat there for a while trying to remember walking along Exchange Court. Just behind the viewpoint of the photograph above was a small opening which was congested by several industrial sized rubbish bins and various bits of detritus which I had completely ignored, this must be the confluence of Heathcock and Exchange Courts.
So why hadn’t I seen the entrance on the Strand? The answer is supplied by Google Street Map. It’s currently hidden behind a door with a construction notice on it, but there are two signs on the wall and one hanging over the entrance that state “Heathcock Court”. Doh! indeed.