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Ward of Cripplegate
Ward of Cripplegate is located in Greater London
Ward of Cripplegate
Ward of Cripplegate
Ward of Cripplegate shown within Greater London
Population 2,782 (2011 Census. Ward)[1]
OS grid reference TQ327811
Sui generis
Administrative area Greater London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district EC3
Dialling code 020
Police City of London
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°31′08″N 0°05′38″W / 51.519°N 0.094°W / 51.519; -0.094Coordinates: 51°31′08″N 0°05′38″W / 51.519°N 0.094°W / 51.519; -0.094

Cripplegate was a gate in the London Wall and a name for the region of the City of London outside the gate. The area was almost entirely destroyed in the Blitz of World War II and today it is the site of the Barbican Estate and Barbican Centre. The name is preserved in the church of St Giles-without-Cripplegate, in the Cripplegate ward of the City, and in a small road named Cripplegate Street which lies slightly to the north of the site of the Wall between Viscount Street and Bridgewater Street.[2]

The ward of Cripplegate straddles the former line of the Wall and the old gate, and remains[3] divided into "Within" and "Without" parts, with a beadle and a deputy (alderman) appointed for each part. Since the 1994 (City) and 2003 (ward) boundary changes, most of the ward is Without, with the ward of Bassishaw having expanded considerably into the Within area.


An illustration of the gate, c. 1650.

In 1068, a burial site in Cripplegate, where Jewin Street now stands, was the only place in England where Jews were permitted to be buried. Those living elsewhere in the country were forced, at great expense and inconvenience, to bring their dead there.[4]

In 1555, John Gresham endowed the new Gresham's School in Norfolk with three tenements in the parish of St. Giles Without Cripplegate, including 'The White Hind' and 'The Peacock'.[5]

During the Second World War the Cripplegate area, a centre of the rag trade,[6] was virtually destroyed and by 1951 the resident population of the City stood at only 5,324, of whom 48 lived in Cripplegate. Discussions began in 1952 about the future of the area, and the decision to build new residential properties was taken by the Court of Common Council on 19 September 1957. The area was reopened as the Barbican Estate in 1969.

Following a boundary change in 1994, the Golden Lane Estate was transferred from Islington to the City, and so Cripplegate is today the most populous of the four residential wards of the City, with a population of 2,782 (2011).


The origins of the gate's name are unclear.[7] One theory, bolstered by a mentioning of the gate in the fourth law code of Æthelred the Unready and a charter of William the Conqueror from 1068 under the name "Crepelgate",[8] is that it is named for the Anglo-Saxon word crepel, meaning for a covered or underground passageway.

Another unsubstantiated theory suggests it is named after of the cripples who used to beg there. The name of the nearby medieval church of St Giles-without-Cripplegate lends credence to this suggestion as Saint Giles is the patron saint of cripples and lepers.

Cripplegate ward

Location within the City

Cripplegate is one of the 25 ancient wards of the City of London, each electing an alderman to the Court of Aldermen and commoners (the City equivalent of a councillor) to the Court of Common Council of the City of London Corporation. Only electors who are Freemen of the City are eligible to stand. In the early 12th century, the area was originally referred to as Alwoldii which was probably the name of the current alderman.[9] The early records are unreliable as regards who the Aldermen were, but from 1286 there is a more reliable list of Aldermen available.[9]

Cripplegate Foundation

The foundation dates its origins to the donation of £40 "to provide trousers for local people" on 2nd April 1500.[10] However it was only in 1891 that various local trusts were consolidated into the Cripplegate Foundation by the London Parochial Charities Act.[10] Between 1896 and 1973 the foundation ran the Cripplegate Institute.[10] From 1 April 2008 the area of benefit was expanded to include Islington. John Gilbert is the chair of the foundation, having been on the board of governors since 2005.[10]

In popular culture

The second wedding in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral takes place in the fictional church of St. Mary of the Fields, Cripplegate, EC2[11] It was filmed in the chapel of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.[12]

Jewin Crescent painting at the Imperial War Museum

See also


  1. ^ "City of London Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  2. ^ A-Z London. Geographer's A-Z Map Co Ltd. 2001. p. 162. ISBN 0-85039-753-7. 
  3. ^ Cripplegate Ward News Archived 12 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine. - note use of "Within" and "Without" on page 4
  4. ^ Light for the last days (1888), H Grattan Guinness D.D., FRAS>
  5. ^ Herbert, William, The History of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of London (London, Wm Herbert, 1836) pp. 80-81 at
  6. ^ Tom Bolton (June 24, 2015). "From Cripplegate to Agar Town: inside London's vanished neighbourhoods". The Guardian. Retrieved June 24, 2015. by the second world war, Cripplegate had become "Fire Island", the highest-insurance-risk area in London, occupied by rag trade warehouses packed with tinder-box stock. 
  7. ^ Harben, Henry (1918). A Dictionary of London. London. 
  8. ^ 'Saxon London', by Alan Vince, 1990, p43
  9. ^ a b Caroline Fiona Gordon (1985), The Ward of Cripplegate in the City of London, London: Cripplegate Ward Club 
  10. ^ a b c d "History". Cripplegate Foundation Limited. Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  11. ^ Sic : Cripplegate is in the EC3 postcode area.
  12. ^ Four Weddings and a Funeral at
  • Old and New London and A New History of London — two historical sources on the ward from British History Online
  • Map of Early Modern London: Cripplegate Ward - Historical Map and Encyclopedia of Shakespeare's London(Scholarly)

External links

  • Cripplegate Ward The Official Ward Website
  • City of London Corporation Map of Cripplegate ward (2003 —)
  • Cripplegate Ward Club - A Social Club based in the City of London
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