A Harley Street door

Since the 1800’s Harley Street has been home to members of the medical profession, and even today most Brits if you say Harley Street will think private medicine. no37There are thousands of health care professionals working in and around Harley Street today. However not at No37 which is now part residential and part office space for financial advisers and legal professionals. Once though no37 was home to Mr Henry Hancock, one of the original fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons and consulting surgeon at Charing Cross Hospital. He was active from the 1830s until the 1870s and as well as general surgery is noted for his ophthalmic work, some orthopaedic work and lecturing! His biographical entry states

He was an excellent surgeon and clinical teacher. He was kindly and considerate, of a lovable character, earnest and enthusiastic about his work, and markedly straightforward and attached to duty

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Strolling along the Thames Path – part one!

Our stroll was along the latter sections of the Thames Path, and in fact not on the path itself. We began at The Bank where we emerged from the underground, and my eye was immediately caught by a grasshopper. grasshopperYou couldn’t really miss it at a metre in length! It is one of the ancient signs of Lombard Street, and is first associated with a merchant Sir Thomas Gresham. Sir Gresham’s working life began in the wool trade,  before coming a goldsmith. He later established the Royal Exchange in the City of London, and his business premises  – 68 Lombard Street – was located where the Grasshopper still resides today.  The history of the Grasshopper becomes, at least to me, a little confused from this point. A bank in Liverpool – Martins – traded as the Grasshopper and their Head Office had a Grasshopper on it! When they decided to open a London office they took over the premises of one of their London based partnerships – 68 Lombard Street! Sir Gresham no longer operated from here as he had long since died, however goldsmiths did still operate out of the premises and all had used the Grasshopper sign. So which came first the London Grasshopper or the Liverpool one?! And was the sign behind the decision for Martins to use 68 Lombard Street rather than the premises of one of their other partners?! Who knows, but I am so pleased the sign still exists and that it was not lost when Martins Bank was taken over by Barclays in 1969. There are other wonderful signs, (but not that Regus one!) on Lombard Street but we were meant to be heading for the Thames, so I’ll have to return with you another day. Continue reading