Little slices of London's history

Tyburn hangings

On this day in London’s history. On 3 November, 1793, the last hanging took place at Tyburn tree, near modern-day Marble Arch.

Condemned prisoners travelled from Newgate Prison to Tyburn; part of this went led into the steep ascent of Holborn Hill, sometimes called Heavy Hill. As prisoners on that journey rode backwards, the expressions ‘to ride up Heavy Hill’ or ‘to ride backwards up Holborn Hill’ indicated that someone was on their last journey. The expression ‘going west’, unlike the ‘go west’ of American pioneering times, referred to that last journey towards Tyburn.

For a fascinating insight into the full and final journey a prisoner would have made from Newgate to Tyburn, visit

4 responses to “Tyburn hangings”

  1. […] is that the bodies had been left overnight in Red Lion Square in Holborn before being taken to Tyburn, and that later the bodies were taken back there and secretly buried. This would appear not to be […]

  2. […] meaning ‘boundary stream’; in the middle ages it served as the boundary for Westminster. The Tyburn tree, the site of public hangings from at least 1196 to 1793, is near modern-day Marble Arch. The river […]

  3. […] to end on a grisly note, we shouldn’t really overlook one of London’s most infamous trees: Tyburn Tree, the site for centuries of London’s public hangings. Prisoners were originally hanged from trees […]

  4. […] 18th century Newgate became not just a prison but the location of public executions: the gallows at Tyburn were moved to the prison in 1783 and prisoners no longer made the long journey west from Newgate to […]

About Me (and my Obsession)

My obsession with London street names began in the early 90s when I worked in the Smithfield area and happened upon Bleeding Heart Yard. In my wanderings around London, I kept adding to my store of weird and wonderful street names. Eventually it was time to share – hence my blog. I hope you enjoy these names as much as I do.
– Elizabeth


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