20 Things you might not know about Clerkenwell by Greene & Co

It’s hard to believe but Clerkenwell once had no residential estate agents. Then loft living came along… With EC1 continuing to prove its worth as one of London’s top postcodes, we ask: how much do you know about the area?

We’ve seen Clerkenwell change a lot over the past 20 years. It was Greene & Co non-executive directors John Hitchcox and Harry Handelsman who first brought New York-style loft living to the UK, to Clerkenwell, in 1992, via their company, the Manhattan Loft Corporation.

The warehouse flats they built on Summers Street sparked a whole new trend and helped to put EC1 back on the London map. Since then, it has evolved into one of the city’s most fashionable postcodes. The area that once had no need for a residential estate agent now has a property market that continues to thrive. You may be surprised at just how much the value of your property in EC1 has increased.

Recently, we launched a campaign to uncover 101 intriguing facts about Clerkenwell. Working with local historian and illustrator Jane Young (www.londonkillsme.com), we have created a series of three “101 Things You Might Not Know About Clerkenwell” illustrated posters. Here, we share some of the results of our fact-finding mission…

To pick up the second poster in the series, or for more information about what we can do for you, whether you’re buying, selling, renting or letting, drop into our branch at 70 Clerkenwell Road. Alternatively, call 020 7251 8877 or visit www.greene.co.uk


1 ) The company was established in 1982, in West Hampstead. It now has six offices across London, serving West Hampstead, Maida Vale, Crouch End, Belsize Park, Clerkenwell and Kensal Rise, all specialising in residential sales, lettings and new homes.
2 ) Urban Spaces, London’s unique property specialist, is part of the Greene & Co group
3 ) We have more than 70,000 visitors to our websites every month
4 ) The Sunday Times and The Times awarded us Marketing Estate Agent of the Year 2013
5 ) We like to share with our customers everything we know about property – hence our book, 101 Things your Estate Agent Should Tell you When Buying or Selling a Property. We also have a knowledge bank of ebooks, area guides and videos on our website


1 ) The St John restaurant on St John Street is a former smokehouse. Up until the 18th century, the site was home to the Swan with Two Necks inn.
2 ) The boundary between the City and the London Borough of Islington runs right down the middle of Goswell Road.
3 ) The Malmaison hotel in Charterhouse Square reopened after major refurbishment in November 2013. It now features murals by the street artist Xenz.
4 ) Spa Green Estate (1949), designed by Berthold Lubetkin, was considered by Nikolaus Pevsner to be the most innovative public housing of its time.
5 ) From 1872 to 1933, the Queen Mary University halls of residence in Charterhouse Square were occupied by the Merchant Taylors school.
6 ) The Grade II Listed Barbican Estate, built between 1965 and 1976, is a prominent example of Brutalist architecture.
7 ) The Slaughtered Lamb pub in Great Sutton Street, a former factory building dating back to 1935, is known for its live music.
8 ) In 2001, the Old Cannon Brewery in St John Street was transformed into offices and luxury apartments. The fermenting house is now the HQ of architects BDP.
9 ) Clerkenwell Road was once home to Wilderness Works, one of the largest wholesalers in the country for the jewellery, watch and clock trades.
10 ) The apartment building at 88 Cowcross Street was formerly the Blue Posts pub.
11 ) There has been a theatre on the Sadler’s Wells site since 1683, when a “musick house” was established to entertain the invalids who came to take the spa waters there. The remains of the wells can still be found beneath the theatre today.
12 ) Built in 1614, 41-42 Cloth Fair is the oldest surviving house in the City of London.
13 ) The Goldsmiths’ Centre in Britton St was once a Victorian London Board School.
14 ) Poet Laureate John Betjeman lived at Cloth Fair from 1954 to 1973, renting two rooms above a shop for £200 per year.
15 ) In 1718, the artist William Hogarth set up his first engraving business at his mother’s house in Long Lane.
16 ) During WWII Owen’s Fields housed a public air raid shelter, which suffered a direct hit in October 1940.
17 ) The Kestrel House tower block in Pickard Street was featured on the cover of The Streets’ 2002 album Original Pirate Material.
18 ) From 1822 to 1824, William Makepeace Thackeray lodged at 28 Clerkenwell Road (today, it’s the Vitra showroom).
19 ) A pair of Georgian houses, built in 1780, now occupy the site of the Great Hall of St John’s Priory. Part of the undercroft remains beneath 49-50 St John’s Square.
20 ) In 1946 Accurist Watches was founded on St. John’s St, and to celebrate the brands rich heritage we have partnered with them to offer readers the chance to win one of their fantastic Vintage Collection watches. For more information visit www.greene.co.uk/competition