17 May 2010

Quirky London 5 of 20: The oldest shopfront

Where is it? 56 Artillery Lane, in higgledy-piggledy back streets off Spitalfields Market not far from Liverpool St station.

What's quirky about it? Built in 1756, it's said to be the oldest surviving shop front in London. Don't know what it ever sold - top hats, probably, or lampblack or snuffboxes or vittles or something.

Why bike there? Curious little backstreets round here to nose around: this is Lannan's Ice Dind ('London's East End'). Spitalfields Market is full of trendy boutiques, bars and eateries, and you're just round the corner from Brick Lane, with its 24-hour bagel shop; or run its gauntlet of questionable curry places.

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  1. Ooh - they've painted it. Used to be covered in about 30 layers of black paint.

    I always understood that It used to be a mercer's shop - specialising in silk, not surprisingly for the area.

  2. Vittles? Surely you mean victuals?