It’s a funny little passageway – for a street so short, it manages to pack an awful lot into it. It’s part of the Thames Path, though the view of the river’s a bit blocked there. It is possible to see it if you’re inventive though…
Narrow and often on the dark side, its ancient flagstoned pathway, still with its old open drain down the middle, just invites nosey parkers to peer into the windows of the tiny cottages on the south side of it – most of the owners have cottoned onto that and have installed thick net curtains; I can hardly blame them. They have no front gardens to speak of but often have sweet little window boxes or fill up the tiny troughs in front of the houses which bring a breath of colour into the grey brick. I’d put them at mid 19th century but I don’t really know.
On the other side of that part of the street two pubs slog it out. There used to be several more along that stretch, but were swept away in the mid 20th Century. The two that remain are the Trafalgar Tavern and the Yacht, a deceptively modern looking hostelry which has deeper roots than it might look – at least 300 years, though of course the current building isn’t nearly so old. It was once called The Barley Mow – a pub name which seems to be dying out faster than others – am I completely wrong to think that The Hill was once the Barley Mow too? There’s one listed as being in “Green Lane” in mid-Victorian times. And of course Gordon Ramsay’s Narrow was the Barley Mow until about a year ago.