Bishopsgate is one of the 25 wards in the City of London financial district. It is also the name of a stretch of the originally Roman Ermine Street between Gracechurch Street and Norton Folgate. Bishopsgate is named after one of the original eight gates in the London Wall. The ward is traditionally divided into Bishopsgate Within, inside the line of the City's former walls, and Bishopsgate Without beyond them. Bishopsgate Without is described as part of London's East End.
Although tens of thousands of people commute to and work in the ward, it has a resident population of only 222.
GateOriginally Roman, the Bishop's Gate was rebuilt by the Hansa merchants in 1471 in exchange for Steelyard privileges. Its final form was erected in 1735 by the City authorities and demolished in 1760. This gate often displayed the heads of criminals on spikes. London Wall divided the ward and road into an intramural portion called Bishopsgate Within and an extramural portion called Bishopsgate Without. The Bishopsgate thoroughfare forms part of the A10 and the section to the north of the site of the original Gate is the start of Roman Ermine Street, also known as the 'Old North Road'. The site of this former gate is marked by a stone bishop's mitre, fixed high upon a building located at Bishopsgate's junction with Wormwood Street, by the gardens there and facing the Heron Tower.
The parish church for the area of Bishopsgate Without is St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate. This is located immediately north of the site of the original Gate on the west side of the road.
Wards and parishesBishopsgate is one of 25 wards in the City of London, each electing an Alderman to the Court of Aldermen, and Commoners to the Court of Common Council of the City of London Corporation. Only electors who are Freemen of the City of London are eligible to stand.
WardThe ward is bounded by Worship Street to the north, where the edge of the City meets the boroughs of Islington and Hackney. It neighbours Portsoken ward and the borough of Tower Hamlets in the east. The western boundary is formed by Old Broad Street and Broad Street ward itself. Bishopsgate also bounds the wards of Aldgate, Coleman Street, Cornhill and Lime Street. Bishopsgate ward straddles the line of the Wall and the old gate and is often divided into "Within" and "Without" parts, with a deputy appointed for each part.
Ward boundary changesSince the 1994 and 2003 boundary changes, almost all of the ward is Without; only a small area surrounding the Leathersellers' livery hall remains as Bishopsgate Within. The ward previously extended much further south, along the Bishopsgate road and Gracechurch Street to meet Langbourn ward, but in the 2003 changes much of the Within part was transferred to Cornhill and Lime Street. No changes to Bishopsgate's ward boundaries occurred in the 2013 boundary changes. Bishopsgate Without gained a large area from the Shoreditch area of the London Borough of Hackney, and lost a small block of buildings east Blomfield Street to the Broad Street ward.
ParishesBishopsgate Within was originally divided into many parishes, each with its own parish church: St Andrew Undershaft, St Ethelburga Bishopsgate, St Martin Outwich, St Mary Axe and St Helen's Bishopsgate, now all amalgamated under the last of these. St Helen's is a very historic medieval church and former monastic establishment with many ancient funerary monuments and a stained glass window depicting William Shakespeare — commemorating a very famous former parishioner who lived in the area in the early to mid 1590s.
Bishopsgate Without corresponds to the parish of St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate.
HistoryBishopsgate was originally the location of many coaching inns which accommodated passengers setting out on the Old North Road. These, though they survived the Great Fire of London, have now all been demolished. These included the Angel, the Black Bull, the Dolphin, the Flower Pot, the Green Dragon, the Magpie and Punchbowl, the White Hart and the Wrestlers. The Black Bull was a venue for the Queen's Men theatrical troupe in the 16th century.
The name of an inn called the Catherine Wheel is commemorated by Catherine Wheel Alley which leads off Bishopsgate to the east. The 17th century facade of Sir Paul Pindar's House, demolished to make way for Liverpool Street railway station in 1890, on Bishopsgate was also preserved and can now be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum. In the 18th century this grand residence became a tavern called Sir Paul Pindar's Head; another notable venue was the London Tavern. Also demolished was the old Crosby Hall, at one time the residence of Richard III and Thomas More.
Bishopsgate is also the site of Dirty Dick's, the Bishopsgate Institute, and many offices and skyscrapers.
On 24 April 1993 it was the site of an IRA truck bombing which killed journalist Ed Henty, injured over 40 people and caused £1 billion worth of damage, including the destruction of St Ethelburga's church and damage to the NatWest Tower and Liverpool Street station. Police had received a coded warning, but were still evacuating the area at the time of the explosion. The area had already suffered damage from the Baltic Exchange bombing one year before.
The street is home to the main London offices of several major banks, including the Royal Bank of Scotland and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Within the ward falls Liverpool Street station and the Broadgate Estate.
Skyscrapers and other notable buildingsdown Bishopsgate.
The following are notable buildings, tall buildings and skyscrapers built, under construction or approved for Bishopsgate, from north to south:
- Broadgate Tower
- Heron Plaza
- Heron Tower
- 99 Bishopsgate
- 100 Bishopsgate
- Tower 42
- 22 Bishopsgate
- Liverpool Street station
- Bishopsgate Institute
File:Copperplate map Bishopsgate.jpg|Bishopsgate and the extramural part of Bishopsgate Street, as shown on the "Copperplate" map of London of the 1550s
Image:Bishop's mitre, Bishopsgate, London.JPG|The bishop's mitre at Bishopsgate's junction with Wormwood Street
Image:Old Fire station, Bishopsgate - geograph.org.uk - 642255.jpg|A former London Fire Brigade station on Bishopsgate, now a supermarket
Image:London Bishopsgate geograph-3066429-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg|The southernmost portion of Bishopsgate pictured in 1955, looking north toward the National Provincial Bank
Image:Relief on building in Bishopsgate, London 1.JPG|Bas relief on the former National Provincial Bank
Image:Relief on building in Bishopsgate, London 2.JPG|From the same building
Image:Relief on building in Bishopsgate, London 3.JPG|Overview of another part of the building