The A-Z Tour
11. Between The Dilly And Blue Gate Fields (City)
"The Dilly" refers, of course, to Piccadilly.
Blue Gate Fields
Blue Gate Fields were in the Stepney region of London, this area was originally marsh that was drained in the 14th century for pasture land. As the docks grew up along the Thames, the area became home to the many dockworkers and passing sailors. In 1883, James Greenwood wrote:
"Tiger Bay - or, more properly speaking, Blue Gate fields - has been so often described that it will be needless here to say more respecting it than that it is as tigerish as ever; that the dens to which, every night of the year, drunken sailors are betrayed, swarm and flourish openly and defiantly in spite of the police."
Click here to see a map from 1746 showing the location of Blue Gate Fields.
The City Of London
The song, however, is not inspired by The Dilly or by Blue Gate Fields, but by what is between the two: The City of London.
The City is the oldest part of London, it is the site where the Romans founded the city of Londinium in 43AD. It has always had strong links with royalty and with business. It has had a seperate governing body since William the Conqueror took the throne in 1066. For many years it was governed by the City Livery Companies (or Guilds). Even today, despite being only one square mile in size, The City still has its own local authority (The Corporation of London) and its own police force.
The City was entirely destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was rebuilt to the design of Sir Christopher Wren, the crowning glory of this being St Paul's Cathedral. The Great Fire is commemorated in The Monument, a column erected near the source of the blaze.
The City again came close to destruction during the Blitz. Some of the old buildings survived or were repaired, but The City is now made up largely of very modern construction.
Blue Gate Fields:
- St Paul's
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