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More from Tamsin Lewis

Maiden Lane

Maiden Lane – a “country dance” from John Playford’s English Dancing Master, 1651.

The dance and its melody is thought to be named after Maiden Lane in Covent Garden, and it is just one of a great number of dances called for London places.

Situated between the Covent Garden Market and the Strand, Maiden Lane was originally a path running from Drury Lane to St Martin’s Lane along the southern edge of the ‘Covent Garden’: that is, the Convent Garden, belonging to the Benedictine monks of Westminster Abbey, and providing produce for their table. The street was first called Maiden Lane in 1636.

A statue of the Virgin stood at the Eastern end of the lane, and this may be the origin of the name Maiden Lane. Another explanation is that it is a corruption of the Middle-English word ‘Midden’.

Famous residents over the centuries include Louis Napoleon, Benjamin Disraeli, Voltaire and the artist J.M.W. Turner. Edward VII and Lily Langtry dined in Maiden Lane and William Terriss, a celebrated actor of his day was murdered here by a crazed understudy in 1897.

Eleanor Cramer: bass viol
Christopher Goodwin: cittern
Peter Kenny: drum
Tamsin Lewis: violin

More in United Kingdom

The First Jigsaw Puzzle, 1762

On this spot, between brothels and drug addicts, John Spilsbury invented the first ‘Dissected Puzzle’. It was intended to educate upper-class children, but it found its greatest hour in the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Wormwood Scrubs Prison

Constructed using convict labour, HMP Wormwood Scrubs was opened in 1891 and is still operational today. This viewpoint will explore the building of Woodworm and how it obtained its rather unusual name.

The History of Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel

Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel, found underneath the platforms and tracks of Waterloo Station, is London’s largest legal graffiti wall at 300-metres in length. The site gained fame after famed British street artist, Banksy, held a street art festival called Cans Festival (a play on The Cannes Film Festival) in the tunnel. Banksy had recognised the potential of the tunnel which had formerly been used as an access road for taxis to pick up passengers from the Eurostar. From the 3rd-5th May 2008, forty street artists from around the world – including Blek le Rat, Ben Eine, Sten & Lex and Vexta – transformed the grimy tunnel into a street art haven. Graffiti and street art are legally permitted in the tunnel meaning that artists can create works without fear of getting arrested by police. This ever-changing gallery now attracts street art tourists and graffiti enthusiasts from around the world and   arches adjacent to the tunnel were recently transformed into bars and restaurants. The site was even home to a temporary cinema, The Lambeth Palace, to celebrate the release of Banksy’s documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop in 2010.