Covent Garden is a district in London, on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St Martin’s Lane and Drury Lane. The district is divided by the main thoroughfare of Long Acre, north of which is given over to independent shops centred on Neal’s Yard and Seven Dials. The south contains the centralsquare with its street performers and most of the historical buildings, theatres and entertainment facilities.
About Covent Garden in brief
Covent Garden is a district in London, on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St Martin’s Lane and Drury Lane. It is associated with the former fruit-and-vegetable market in the central square, now a popular shopping and tourist site. The district is divided by the main thoroughfare of Long Acre, north of which is given over to independent shops centred on Neal’s Yard and Seven Dials. The south contains the centralsquare with its street performers and most of the historical buildings, theatres and entertainment facilities, including the London Transport Museum and the Theatre Royal. The area was fields until briefly settled in the 7th century when it became the heart of the Anglo-Saxon trading town of Lundenwic. By 1200 part of it had been walled off by the Abbot of Westminster Abbey for use as arable land and orchards, later referred to as \”the garden of the Abbey and Convent\”, and later \”the Convent Garden\”. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries it was granted in 1552 by the young King Edward VI to John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, the trusted adviser to his father King Henry VIII. Inigo Jones designed the Italianate arcaded square along with the church of St Paul’s. The design of the square was new to London and had a significant influence on modern town planning, acting as the prototype for new estates as London grew. By the end of the 1960s traffic congestion was causing problems, and in 1974 the market relocated to the New Covent Garden Market about three miles south-west at Nine Elms.
The central building re-opened as a shopping centre in 1980 and is now a tourist location containing cafes, pubs, small shops, and a craft market called the Apple Market, along with another market held in the Jubilee Hall. The first mention of a walled garden comes from a document detailing land owned by the Benedictine monks of St Peter Abbey, dated between 1250 and 1283. The name of the district is a French-French term for a quadrangle of mixed orchard, meadow, orchard or meadow lying between modern-day St Martin’s Lane and Maiden Lane, and Floral Lane, Maiden Street, and Flower Lane, Floral Street, Maiden Lane and Flowering Lane. The area has been served by the Piccadilly line at Covent garden tube station since 1907; the 300 yard journey from Leicester Square tube station is the shortest in London. It falls within the London boroughs of Westminster and Camden and the parliamentary constituencies of Cities of London and Westminster and Holborn and St Pancras. It was once thought to have remained as unsettled fields until the 16th century, but theories by Alan Vince and Martin Biddle that there had been an Anglo- Saxon settlement to the west of the old Roman town of Londinium were borne out in 1985 and 2005.