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Maiden Lane: Our Lady and Turner

Maiden Lane: Our Lady and Turner As with much of London, Maiden Lane is steeped in rich history, situated so near to theatres and Covent Garden Piazza, many important historical figures have crossed it’s path and connected it eternally to English history. The lane started out as a garden path or bridleway gradually evolved into a road and path, though blocked on the eastern side with the statue of The Virgin Mary, as the Bedford Family who owned the estate, as well as the Earl of Bedford who, alongside architect Inigo Jones created Covent Garden. The name ‘Maiden Lane’ itself has never been specifically accounted for etymologically, there are a number of theories behind it’s title, including suggestions that it was named after the statue of The Virgin Mary, this has been questioned as there were different names used before the statue was constructed, and it is equally likely that the name is derived from the term ‘midden’ from Middle English, implying that it was used initially as a place for animals carrying goods to relieve themselves. The Earl of Bedford had not wished for Maiden Lane to become a route through to the bustle of Covent Garden Piazza. Which was later removed so that the road could be put to full use in 1857 after Queen Victoria produced a Royal Decree forcing it to open at the east end after she had an awkward experience when her carriage dropped it’s occupants at the theatre but was then unable to leave the lane without turning around, this spurred Victoria to have the statue removed so it was possible to exit the street in a graceful fashion. Maiden Lane was particularly famous for being the birthplace and home of the skilled landscape painter J.M.W Turner whose father owned a barbershop on the street. Turner lived here for a decade before moving to Brentford which was in those times a small town west of London on the banks of the River Thames. The site that marks the spot of his birth; 21 Maiden Lane is now the site of The Porterhouse – a large and traditional Irish bar which features a statue of Turner outside, as well as a plaque reminding visitors of the painter who once occupied the building.

Maiden Lane: Our Lady and Turner

As with much of London, Maiden Lane is steeped in rich history, situated so near to theatres and Covent Garden Piazza, many important historical figures have crossed it’s path and connected it eternally to English history.

The lane started out as a garden path or bridleway gradually evolved into a road and path, though blocked on the eastern side with the statue of The Virgin Mary, as the Bedford Family who owned the estate, as well as the Earl of Bedford who, alongside architect Inigo Jones created Covent Garden.

The name ‘Maiden Lane’ itself has never been specifically accounted for etymologically, there are a number of theories behind it’s title, including suggestions that it was named after the statue of The Virgin Mary, this has been questioned as there were different names used before the statue was constructed, and it is equally likely that the name is derived from the term ‘midden’ from Middle English, implying that it was used initially as a place for animals carrying goods to relieve themselves.

The Earl of Bedford had not wished for Maiden Lane to become a route through to the bustle of Covent Garden Piazza. Which was later removed so that the road could be put to full use in 1857 after Queen Victoria produced a Royal Decree forcing it to open at the east end after she had an awkward experience when her carriage dropped it’s occupants at the theatre but was then unable to leave the lane without turning around, this spurred Victoria to have the statue removed so it was possible to exit the street in a graceful fashion.

Maiden Lane was particularly famous for being the birthplace and home of the skilled landscape painter J.M.W Turner whose father owned a barbershop on the street. Turner lived here for a decade before moving to Brentford which was in those times a small town west of London on the banks of the River Thames. The site that marks the spot of his birth; 21 Maiden Lane is now the site of The Porterhouse – a large and traditional Irish bar which features a statue of Turner outside, as well as a plaque reminding visitors of the painter who once occupied the building.

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