Newman Passage, Fitrovia – a walk into London’s past

New Passage, Fitrovia - a walk into London's past

Veritably dripping with Victorian atmosphere is Newman Passage, a narrow alleyway in Fitzrovia linking Newman and Rathbone Streets.

New Passage, Fitrovia - a walk into London's past

The passage winds east from Newman Street for a hundred yards or so, before splitting into two, with the cobbled lane turning sharply south to form a cul de sac, while a narrow alley to the left takes you into Rathbone Street, passing under the Newman Arms pub.

New Passage, Fitrovia - a walk into London's past

Approaching the bend in Newman Passage, with the alleyway branching out to the left. You almost expect to see Sherlock Holmes to come flapping into view.

New Passage, Fitrovia - a walk into London's past

Dating from 1746, Newman Passage forms part of the Berners Estate, and in the late 19th Century – when  Bloomsbury was a hotbed of anarchist, radical and other political types – it housed a co-operative kitchen for communist refugees.

More recently, the passage was a setting for a murder in the 1959 film, film Peeping Tom, which saw the grisly tale of a prostitute being picked up a punter in the passage (try saying that after a few beers) before being promptly murdered above the pub.

New Passage, Fitrovia - a walk into London's past

New Passage, Fitrovia - a walk into London's past

Looking back towards Rathbone Street.

New Passage, Fitrovia - a walk into London's past

A crooked lampost used to stand in front of the bollard and was famously seen in the opening credits for the much-loved TV series ‘Minder.’

New Passage, Fitrovia - a walk into London's past

Still from ‘Minder’ opening credits, with Arthur’n’Terry ‘holding up’ the bent lamppost.

New Passage, Fitrovia - a walk into London's past

Looking south along the cobbled street to the cul de sac.

New Passage, Fitrovia - a walk into London's past

The alley heads east under the Newman Arms onto Rathbone Street.

In case you’re wondering, yes, there is enough space to manoeuvre a Barclays Bike past the bollard. Just!

New Passage, Fitrovia - a walk into London's past

Looking up to the pub’s Pie Room on the first floor.

New Passage, Fitrovia - a walk into London's past

Rathbone Street ahead. You can cross the road and continue to Charlotte Street via the amusingly named Percy Passage.

New Passage, Fitrovia - a walk into London's past

The Newman Arms on Rathbone Street. Built in 1730 and located at No. 23 Rathbone Street, the building became a pub in 1860, previously being used for housing a tallow chandler, an ironmonger, a picture framers and finally a brothel.

George Orwell and Dylan Thomas were said to be regulars, and  the pub claims to be the only family run hostelry in Fitzrovia.

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6 Comments on “Newman Passage, Fitrovia – a walk into London’s past”

  1. (Still from ‘Minder’ opening credits, with Arthur’n’Terry ‘holding up’ the bent lamppost.)

    remember this never know were it was till now 🙂

  2. Superb pictures and commentary. As an ex-pat Londoner living in the Southern Hemisphere, I am now even more homesick than I was this morning.

    1. I agree re pictures and commentary. Andy, how ever could you leave London? If I only could spend as much time there as I wanted, I would wish for nothing more!

  3. In the 1920s, the then newly established Gramophone magazine was based in Newman Street, and published a number of record reviews cheekily credited to Newman Passage or Percy Passage. The former was the critic Alec Robertson (1892-1982), who was to be involved with the magazine for more than 50 years, and the latter was musicologist Peter Latham (1894-1970).

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