Facts about Covent Garden
Covent Garden History
During the Roman period, what is now the Strand – running along the southern boundary of the area that was to become Covent Garden. It was part of the route to Silchester, known as “Iter VII” on the Antonine Itinerary. Excavations in 2006 at St Martin-in-the-Fields revealed a late Roman grave, suggesting the site had been sacred since at least 410AD.
These revealed that a trading town, called Lundenwic, developed around 600 AD. Stretching from Trafalgar Square to Aldwych, with Covent Garden at the centre. Alfred the Great gradually shifted the settlement into the old Roman town of Londinium from around 886 AD onwards, leaving no mark of the old town, and the site returned to fields.
Covent Garden is a district in London, on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St Martin’s Lane and Drury Lane. It is associated with the former fruit-and-vegetable market in the central square. Now a popular shopping and tourist site, and with the Royal Opera House, itself is known as “Covent Garden”.
By 1654 a small open-air fruit-and-vegetable market had developed on the south side of the fashionable square. Gradually, both the market and the surrounding area fell into disrepute, as taverns, theatres, coffee-houses and brothels opened up. By the 18th century, it had become notorious for its abundance of brothels. An Act of Parliament was drawn up to control the area.