Brydges Place – the truth

Why do people give out incorrect facts re Brydges Place, London WC2?

I was looking up some non related information regarding advertising & the potential links between blogs and pishing sites) when some links on Google sent me to Londonist. One page happened to be one about London’s narrowest streets. Fact – it was the second time that day I encountered these claims re this alley just off St Martin’s Lane.

I had there earlier that day taking photographs of the architecture right by the pub and I know Brydges Place can’t be 15 inches wide. I can easily walk through, having done it many times, and I’m roughly 20 inches across the shoulders. No squeeze whatsoever!

Does anyone really know what fifteen inches is like? Its just over a foot for a start. That’s very narrow. Few would be able to get through even sideways.

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How the hell do they squeeze these lamp posts into Brydges Place?

This perfidious piece of crap from London Cyclist says it all: ‘As you enter from the one side of Brydges Place, you will notice the street getting narrower and narrower. Eventually it is just 15 inches wide. Roughly enough to fit you and your bike through as long as you breathe in.’

As my pictures will show, one can lug a plastic pedestrian barrier sideways through Brydges Place with room to spare!

On reading Londonist’s claims, I thought to myself why does this stuff regularly get peddled? The editor of Londonist is the author of ‘Everything you know about London is wrong.’ Wrong? Just look at his tweet on Brydges Place!

Truth be, ‘London’s narrowest alley’ can’t beat the REAL narrowest one – not even with that scaffolding in place!

The damn fact is Brydges Place is more than double the width many claim. I was so incensed reading Londonist’s claims and finding the tweet above that I immediately upped, grabbed my camera and a tape measure, and went straight down there to measure it knowing I had enough time before the tube shut for the night.

First I disprove Londonist editor’s claim Brydges Place has got even narrower….

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This is BrydgesPlace currently with scaffolding.

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Tape measure it – there’s approximately 34 inches between the poles. Oh and the width here is almost four feet!

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A bit further along (where there’s NO scaffolding) it does become three feet wide. More than double the said fifteen inches!

Remember I was holding the tape and a camera to take these pictures. That explains why the tape has been applied in this particular way  – it was the only way I could hold the tape in place with one hand and take pictures too!

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Despite the fact people had pissed in the alley I tried to ignored this and measure the narrowest point.

Its not so easy cos there are chamfers on either side of the passage and I couldnt get the tape measure to remain in place. Once again I had to resort to the method I used a little earlier. Not so easy now it was being done at ground level!

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At the narrowest point its 34 inches (just under three feet.) That’s more than double the alleged fifteen inches!

Though I measured it at 34 inches, there are people who say its 33 inches. Well that’s good enough it shows it aint frigging fifteen inches – not even by a mile!

There were engineers working outside on electricity cables in the road. I asked them if they thought Brydges Place was fifteen inches wide. They laughed and said no way could it be that. One of the engineers came along with some more orange fencing (which they needed) from their van and said, ‘look, I can fit these in Brydges Place sideways!’ Absolutely right!

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Our engineer with the orange fencing in the narrowest part of Brydges Place!

The final piece of evidence is always there, 24/7 and 365 days a year. Its the two lamps. They’re approximately 20 inches wide. If Brydges Place was fifteen inches wide no way would they fit these in the passage!

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Twenty inches wide lamp shade in a passage allegedly fifteen inches wide!

Clearly Brydges Place is a loser. Let’s take a look at a winner instead….

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Emerald Court – undoubtedly the narrowest – lest anyone knows otherwise?

London’s narrowest alley it seems is Emerald Court, near Great Ormond Street. I’m not going to make absolutist claims, but it does look pretty well like its the real candidate. I measured it at 27 inches width (others report it at 26.5inches.)

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Thats more fucking narrower than Brydges Place!

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The tape measure’s in place. Now for the truth….

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Emerald Court is 27 inches wide. Thats seven inches narrower!

Brydges Place most definitely sucks! I’ve checked through history and there doesn’t seem to be any reason for the claims, even OS maps don’t show it narrow. It seems some postulate mooted the notion perhaps within the last couple of decades and the lie has stuck ever since. Brydges is nowhere near Emerald Court or others even narrower elsewhere in Britain, its a huge untruth and its time that charade was ended.

One of the biggest ironies of Londonist’s claims is they too mention Emerald Court but do it the dishonour by claiming Brydges Place as first in the rankings. Clearly no-one’s ever got their ruler out…

There are a couple of bloggers (besides mine) that seek the truth, alas we are few and far between:

Real Cycling Blog

Christopher Fowler Blog

List of blogs/fakers who claim Brydges Place is the narrowest in London:

Londonist

London Daily Photo

Inner London Ramblers

Memoirs of a Metro Girl

London Cyclist

Urban 75

Black Cab London

Telegraph

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