Drury Lane

Drury Lane

[droor-ee]
Drury Lane, street and district of London, at first a place of fine residences, among which was that of the Drury family. It was the site of the original Drury Lane Theatre, which was built by Thomas Killigrew in 1663 under a charter from Charles II and called the Theatre Royal. After burning down (1672), the theater was rebuilt (1674) with Christopher Wren as architect. It was again rebuilt (1791-94) and again burned down (1809). The present Drury Lane Theatre was changed according to the design of Benjamin Wyatt in 1812. The oldest English theater still in use, it has at various times housed everything from a circus to opera.

See Reminiscences of Michael Kelly of the King's Theatre and Theatre Royal Drury Lane (2 vol., 2d ed. 1826, repr. 1968).

Drury Lane is a street in the Covent Garden area of London, running between Aldwych and High Holborn. The northern part is in the borough of Camden and the southern part in the City of Westminster.

It took its start from the west end of Wych Street, redeveloped in the later nineteenth century as Aldwych. The lane led to the house built by Sir William Drury, Knight of the Garter in Queen Elizabeth's reign. Drury House, with a coachyard in front and a garden in back, was a scene of the intrigues that led to the ill-fated rebellion of the Queen's favourite, the Earl of Essex. In the 17th century it was the London house of the Earl of Craven, then a public house under the sign of his reputed mistress, the Queen of Bohemia, but by the eighteenth century Drury Lane had become one of the worst slums in London, dominated by prostitution and gin palaces. The area was eventually cleared to make way for the developments of Kingsway and Aldwych.

The name of the street is often used to refer to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, which has in different incarnations been located in Drury Lane since the 17th century. Also in Drury Lane is the New London Theatre.

The street Drury Lane is also where The Muffin Man lives as mentioned in a popular children's song:

"Do you know the Muffin Man?
The Muffin Man, the Muffin Man.
Do you know the Muffin Man,
Who lives on Drury Lane?"

173 Drury Lane was the location of the first J Sainsbury store, now one of the UK's largest retailers. The store was opened in 1869.

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