Cecil Court may have been “fit for good inhabitants” but we have good reason to suppose that eighteenth century Cecil Court was not an especially salubrious address. The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, fully searchable online, give an insight into life in the street at the time, whenever the inhabitants fell foul of the law. Residents crop up regularly in the trialtranscripts, mostly for petty theft but also for highway robbery, forgery and arson. In 1735 Elizabeth Calloway, keeper of a Brandy Shop in Cecil Court where her clientele could be found “drinking, smoking, and swearing, and running up and down Stairs till one or two in the Morning” seemingly over-insured her goods and set the place alight. Her neighbours’ houses were also burned to the ground while she sat smoking her pipe and drinking good Sussex beer with friends a few streets away.
It was the first London address of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his family (1764-5), arguably where he composed his first symphony.
Film pioneers such as James Williamson and Cecil Hepworth regarded ‘Flicker Alley’ (Cecil Court) as the heart of the early British film trade.
A young Arthur Ransome honed his writing skills while doing as little work as possible for Ernest Oldmeadow at the Unicorn Press at No. 7 Cecil Court.
More information about Cecil Court can be found on our website www.cecilcourt.co.uk