Lamb’s Conduit Street
As part of the London Presence Exhibition, the photographers on Grace Gelders’ course visit and document Lamb’s Conduit Street, WC1.
I know Lamb’s Conduit Street very well, as I have visited it many times in the past. Particularly in the years 1986-1987, as I was studying an HND in Business Studies at North East London Polytechnic. Also, my father would have been here a lot in the in the 1950s, as he was training to be a Doctor at the time, and would have been at Great Ormond Street Hospital and The Sun pub on Lamb’s Conduit Street (now The Perseverance) was a favourite of his .
Ellie Broughton of Time Out says this about the street and area:
Lamb’s Conduit Street: what a weird name. This partly pedestrianised stretch of Bloomsbury has nothing to do with actual lambs – in fact, it’s named after a wealthy Tudor dude called William Lambe. He built a conduit, or pipe, here to supply the City with spring water, which was rebuilt by Christopher Wren after being damaged in the Great Fire of London. The street became fashionable in the nineteenth century, when Charles Dickens was a local.
So it’s one of London’s more historic bits, evidenced most clearly by two Victorian pubs: The Lamb and The Perseverance, both pulling pints to this day. The Lamb still has ‘snob screens’: frosted glass partitions at eye-height so prudish middle-class drinkers could get a bit of privacy.
One of the main things that sets Lamb’s Conduit Street apart is its dearth of chains. There was once a Starbucks here, but local businesses fought tooth-and-nail to keep the street independent, and that spirit has allowed an innovative food co-operative and a whole strip of luxury clothes shops to take root. The result: a perfect place to retire after a trip to the British Museum, and an excellent alternative to the West End for after‑work drinks. Come for the snob screens, stay for the old London atmosphere.