Elbow Lane, Dick Whittington, and Savage Gardens

In yesterday’s post about Hand Court, I promised more body parts. Although anatomy does not play a very big role in London street names, there are some instances besides Hand Court, such as Head Street in Stepney, Knee Hill in Greenwich, and Elbow Lane in the City of London. (And of course, one of my favourites, Bleeding Heart Yard.)

After my enthusiastic promise of more information on these, so far I have been able to find information only on Elbow Lane, which intersects Cloak Lane. It could be argued that even that example is cheating as it is now, less interestingly, called College Street and in fact it has been covered in an early post about Dick Whittington, who founded the college after which the street is now named.

Savage GdnsI hang my head in shame for having promised and not delivered. So to make up for it, and for no reason other than it is a great sounding name, I give you the poetically named Savage Gardens.

This takes its name from Sir Thomas Savage, who was created Viscount Savage in 1626. He married Elizabeth Darcy, who deserves admiration above all for having provided her husband with eleven sons and nine daughters. Unluckily for Elizabeth, her father and her husband (both of whom she survived) had strong ties to George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, and to Charles I.

Elizabeth suffered the price of being a Catholic at the time: her houses were looted and her belongings confiscated by parliament. Although she did receive popular support from Catholics and Protestants alike, she is said to have incurred losses of £100,000 and eventually died bankrupt.

The term Savage Garden was used in an Anne Rice novel The Vampire Lestat, when Lestat says: “Beauty was a Savage Garden”. The phrase was later adopted by an Australian pop duo.

If I wanted to cheat I could always turn to a number of streets named after pub signs with body parts, such as various queens, kings and nobles with their arms and heads but I’ll admit graceful defeat and return in the next post with something completely different.

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