Drury Lane, London

The Drurys of Hawsted, in the time of Elizabeth I, had a five story town house in London called Drury House which was located on Drury Lane. Built by Sir William Drury and passed on to his son, Sir Robert Drury, at his death. Sir Robert had no living heirs and, athis death, the home was passed to the Earl of Craven and became known as the Craven House. Before William Drury built his home the area was known as "via de Aldwych." William, the first Earl of Craven, died here in 1697. He was married to the Queen of Bohemia, daughter of James I and mother of Prince Rupert. In 1661 when she returned to England after her nephew's restoration she stayed in the home for about six months.

The home had five stories with eleven small windows on each story, intersected by Doric and Ionic pilasters. The entrance was through a pair of gates which led to a large coach yard. In the back there was a beautiful garden.

The area where Drury House stood became the area where London's theaters were built. The Cockpit (Phoenix Theatre) was taken down March 20, 1649, and the Olympic Theatre was built in 1805 on the garden grounds of Drury House. The Olympic Theatre burned to the ground on March 29, 1849 and was later rebuilt.

Sir Robert Drury befriended Dr. John Donne, later Dean of St. Paul's, who lived in the house and served as its chaplain. Izaak Walton in his "Life of Dr. John Donne, Dean of St. Paul's," wrote:

"That the earnest persuasion of friends became at last to be so powerful as to cause the removal of himself and family to London where Sir Robert Drewry a gentleman of a very noble estate and a most liberal mind assigned him and his wife an useful apartment in his own large house in Drury-lane and not only rent free but was also a cherisher of his slanders and such a friend as sympathized with him and his in all their joy and sorrows."

While there is nothing left today of the Drurys on Drury Lane it was still interesting to walk the length of the street and enjoy the sights. Here are a few pictures of Drury Lane today.

Drury Lane, circled in red, runs from Aldwych to High Holborn and can be reached easily via London's Underground. It is just a few minutes walk from the Convent Garden and Holborn Underground stations.
The only mention to the Drury family that can be found on Drury Lane today is on a sign hanging on the Prince of Wales restaurant.
Drury Lane The Royal Theatre, Drury Lane

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Last updated: November, 1999