Bow Street

Covent Garden (WC2) Said to be so called on account of its bent shape when it was first laid out. Once one of the most fashionable parts of London, the headquarters of the poets in the days of Dryden, and of the Metropolitan Police in our own. Sir Godfrey Kneller resided in this street. He and Radcliffe, the physician, were next-door neighbours. Jacob Tonson, the bookseller, had a house here in which he drove some of his hardest bargains with Dryden. Will's Coffee-house, the predecessor of Button's and even more celebrated in its time than that, stood here. The room in which Dryden was accustomed to sit was on the first floor; and his place was the place of honour-by the fireside in winter, and at the corner of the balcony overlooking the street in fine weather. At this time there was no theatre in Bow Street, though one had been in existence in Drury Lane for about a century. (Reference: Smith's Streets of London, pp. 162-9)