The City of London, the traditional business district of London that stands on the site of the old walled London of Roman and mediaeval times, is full of delightful surprises. Although much of the area was destroyed by the Great Fire in 1666 and the aerial bombing in the 1940s, what has persisted to a remarkable through the ages is the mediaeval street layout.
Another charming feature are the narrow alleyways that pass between or even through buildings. Step through some of these, and suddenly you find yourself stepping back into history.
Recently, we ‘discovered’ Ball Court, which leads south from Cornhill just a few yards west of the Church of St Michaels Cornhill. A narrow alley leads beneath a building to a wider courtyard open to the sky. Two sides of this rectangular space are occupied by Simpsons Tavern, a pub (and chop house) established in 1757. Ball Court itself is even older than the tavern, appearing on a map dated 1746.
I can not tell you why Ball Court has that name, but I feel sure that there must have been a good reason, but it had no name on the 1746 map. In any case, when in London, leave the main streets, explore, and enjoy!