Bradshaw’s Hand Book to London, Day 8, Bagnigge Wells & Exmouth Market, (no.52)

This area, now Clerkenwell, was originally fertile meadows rising to small hills and watered by the Fleet River and numerous springs. The land belonged originally to the Augustinian nunnery of St Mary, Clerkenwell, and the Priory of St John of Jerusalem.

Nunnery of St Mary, Clerkenwell

Nunnery of St Mary, Clerkenwell

In the Dissolution of the Monasteries buildings were broken down or their use changed. The Nunnery Church was rededicated to St James, and rebuilt in 1788-91, and the land was given to aristocratic families. It was the country freshness of this area and the believed medicianal qualities of the water which brought people to the area for leisure activities in the 18C in particular.

‘..The eastern wall of the House of Correction [!] runs parallel with the Bagnigge Wells Road, where stood Bagnigge Wells..’.

Remembering Bagnigge Wells

Remembering Bagnigge Wells

Bagnigge Wells Gardens, c.1800

Bagnigge Wells Gardens, c.1800

Map of Bagnigge Wells, 1775

Map of Bagnigge Wells, 1775

Bagnigge Wells was a popular and fashionable 18C spa with a banqueting hall, gardens, bowling green and other entertainments on the banks of the Fleet River. The Wells gradually fell into disrepair in the early 1800s and were closed by 1841 and built over soon after.

‘..In Exmouth Street is the Spa Fields Chapel, (visible on the map above), once a theatre, and purchased for its present purpose by the Countess of Huntingdon..’. This was originally The Spa Fields Pantheon which closed as a theatre in 1776. It was then converted to a methodist chapel, like the London Tabernacle. It was situated on the south side of Exmouth Street (now Exmouth Market), and the Church of Our Most Holy Redeemer is now on the site.

Spa Fields Chapel, 1781

Spa Fields Chapel, 1781

Exmouth Market

Exmouth Market

You may be interested in
Reviewing the Fleet – Bagnigge Wells
Bagnigge Wells – a detailed and interesting article
Pleasure Gardens – in interesting post of illustrations
Mapco for historic maps of London

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