Addle may derive from the Saxon word adel, meaning noble. Formerly Addle Street, it ran down to Upper Thames Street from carter lane. In 1244 it was mentioned as Adhelingestrate; in 1279–80 as Athelingestrate.

The nearby Watling Street had the same name at this time. In 1596 it was first mentioned as Adling Hill, but in 1598 Stow wrote, ‘In Addle Street or Lane, I find no monuments.’

The descriptive Addle Hill probably coexisted with the formal Addle Street. In 1600 Dekker’s Shoemakers’ Holiday was printed by Valentine Sons who described themselves as ‘dwelling at the foote of Adling Hill, neere Bainards Castle, at the signe of the White Swanne’. After 1863 the southern end was demolished for the creation of Queen Victoria Street.

In 1939 an extension to Faraday House further truncated the street, leaving the present short cul-de-sac off Carter Lane.

Excerpted from The London Encyclopaedia by kind permission of the Publishers, Pan MacMillan.

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