SUSHISAMBA is thrilled to be bringing our truly unique dining experience to the historic and vibrant Covent Gardens community. Read on to find out more about SUSHISAMBA’s newest London locale.
TEN THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT COVENT GARDEN…
These days, Covent Garden may be synonymous with shopping and dining but there is so much more to this central part of London, from its humble beginnings as a convent, to its history as London’s wholesale fruit and vegetable market, to the birthday place of the ‘Punch & Judy’ puppet show, here are a few facts about the area that may just surprise you:
- Covent Garden’s fruit and vegetable market was the setting for Alfred Hitchcock’s penultimate film, Frenzy (1972); it was a return to his roots, having spent many hours there as a child with his father who worked as a fruit importer at the market.
- During her visits to London, the novelist Jane Austen lodged at number 10 Henrietta Street – just around the corner from the Piazza while Voltaire, one of France’s greatest writers, lodged at 10 Maiden Lane in Covent Garden.
- By the 16thcentury the area – which had been a trading post since Saxon times – had become an area of fruitful ground owned by a Benedictine convent, hence its name Covent Garden.
- Oscar Wilde, suffragettes Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, as well as the infamous East End gangsters the Kray brothers have all stood trial at (the now empty) Bow Street Magistrates Court. Set across various buildings in Bow Street around the corner from the Market Building, it became one of England’s most famous magistrates’ courts and saw the birth of the Bow Street Runners, London’s first professional police force.
- St Paul’s Church, known as the Actor’s Church due to its proximity to the Royal Opera House and The Theatre Royal, sits at the heart of Covent Garden. It was beneath the church’s portico that the first known rendition of an Italian puppet play took place. Witnessed by the great diarist Samuel Pepys in May 1662, it was the first record of a ‘Punch’ show in England – a novelty at the time. To this day, the church holds a service every year for London’s puppeteers.
- High above Floral Street sits an elegant walkway in the shape of a helix that connects the Royal Ballet School with the Royal Opera House. Known as the Bridge of Aspiration, the award-winning structure evokes the fluidity of grace and dance, providing the School’s dancers a direct link into the Grade I listed Opera House. Upper School students are lucky enough to cross the Bridge to go to lunch, to the staff and artists’ canteen, or to attend rehearsals for Royal Ballet performances.
- The Lyceum Theatre on Wellington Street held the first exhibition of Madame Tussaud’s waxworks at the beginning of the nineteenth century while Bram Stoker, of Dracula fame, worked as a business manager at the Theatre in the 1800s.
- Number 26 Tavistock Street once housed the offices of Charles Dickens’ weekly magazine, All The Year Round. He lived and worked in this building for long periods
- Covent Garden is the birthplace of the sandwich. The Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, first ordered a piece of meat between two pieces of bread in 1762 at a society club called The Beef Steak Club as a practical solution to keep his fingers and playing cards clean from grease while gambling.
- The journey from Covent Garden station to Leicester Square on the Piccadilly Line is the shortest trip on the entire London Underground Network, covering just 260 metres and lasting only about 20 seconds – while the shortest, it is also the most expensive at £4.90 for a single journey!