Covent Garden

Today I took my E-PL5 to Covent Garden together with my 12, 25 and 75mm lenses.

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Covent Garden is a district in London on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St. Martin’s Lane and Drury Lane.

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It is associated with the former fruit and vegetable market in the central square, now a popular shopping and tourist site, and the Royal Opera House, which is also known as “Covent Garden”.

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The district is divided by the main thoroughfare of Long Acre, north of which is given over to independent shops centred on Neal’s Yard and Seven Dials, while the south contains the central square with its street performers and most of the elegant buildings, theatres and entertainment facilities, including the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and the London Transport Museum.

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The land,  was seized by Henry VIII, and granted to the Earls of Bedford in 1552. The 4th Earl commissioned Inigo Jones to build some fine houses to attract wealthy tenants. Jones designed the Italianate arcaded square along with the church of St Paul’s.

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A small open-air fruit and vegetable market had developed on the south side of the fashionable square by 1654. Gradually, both the market and the surrounding area fell into disrepute.

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An Act of Parliament was drawn up to control the area, and Charles Fowler’s neo-classical building was erected in 1830 to cover and help organise the market.

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The area declined as a pleasure-ground as the market grew and further buildings were added: the Floral Hall, Charter Market, and in 1904 the Jubilee Market.

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In 1974 the market relocated to the New Covent Garden Market about three miles south-west at Nine Elms.

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The central building re-opened as a shopping centre, and is now a tourist location containing cafes, pubs, small shops, and a craft market called the Apple Market, along with another market held in the Jubilee Hall.

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