Clerkenwell is a place that is steeped in centuries of history and takes its name from the London Parish Clerk’s Well at Farringdon Lane. The Monastic Order of the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem had its English headquarters here and St John’s Gate is still there.
By the Industrial Revolution, it became a centre for breweries, distilleries, printing industry and watch making. Flourishing craft workshops still carry on some of the traditional trades, such as jewellery making.
Today the area is a thriving, bustling hive of activity, being trendy and hip without being embarrassingly so, and includes the world renowned Saddlers Well Theatre and Fabric Nightclub. Its diversity of appeal attracts a wide range of people and offers history, culture, arts, dance, good food, live music, city living, leisure as well as bars and pubs.
During the day Clerkenwell is a busy centre of commerce – lots of offices, shops, cafes and restaurants. It is a centre for creative/design/new media types of businesses. The area also has small enclaves of Italians and Jews, remnants of Clerkenwell’s ethnic past.
The evening economy caters for people who want to unwind after work. It includes venues such as Sadlers Wells, Urdang Dance Academy and the quirky Old Red Lion Theatre. Later in the evening more people are attracted to the area to dance at Fabric & Bedouin night clubs
Clerkenwell’s success is due to particular strengths, including:
- Low crime and proactive partnership between the police, licensees and Local Authority
- The diversity of arts and cultural attractions
- Diverse food and dining offer
- Impressive architecture and refurbishment of public spaces
- Improvements to Farringdon Underground station
- Introduction of public toilet facilities in the evening
The residential population has been gradually increasing over the last 10 years and much of the work in Clerkenwell in recent years has been to proactively manage the area for the benefit of residents, businesses and the night time economy.