A well-known street in London
. Fleet Street started out as the track leading
from the western gate
in the city wall
s (called Ludgate
), crossing the
and continuing westwards towards the royal
. As London started to expand outwards it
became one of the major routes between the City
Modern-day Fleet Street runs from Ludgate Circus at the bottom of Ludgate
Hill where St. Paul's Cathedral stands, in a fairly straight line westwards
towards the Strand. The river Fleet itself is long gone, having been paved
over and almost forgotten about over three centuries ago (it's still there,
underground, although its waters never see the light of day).
Fleet Street used to be the hub of the British newspaper industry. All of
the country's major newspapers had their offices here, and their printing presses,
so much so that "Fleet Street" became a phrase synonomous with journalism
in the UK. Because the newspapers were printed late at night, Fleet Street
would remain a hive of activity until well past midnight and it was
common for shops and pubs round there to remain open well after the rest of
London had shut down.
Fleet Street's decline started in the 1980s when modern production techniques
meant that newspaper publishers were less reliant on typesetters and
printers, but did need modern offices for the computers on which they
now laid-out the papers. Rupert Murdoch moved his stable of titles to
Wapping near the Tower of London, and after a long, bitter and at times
very violent fight with the unions, eventually managed to shift the focus of
newspaper publishing away from its traditional centre. Within eight years
every other paper had followed suit, and now there are no national papers
produced in Fleet Street.
Fleet Street is also where the mythical Sweeney Todd was supposed to have had
his barber's shop, and is close to Dr Johnson's house. At its western end
are the inns of court which are the centre of Britain's legal profession.
One of a very occasional series of writeups about London streets and landmarks.