Blackfriars

Blackfriars sits at the east end of the Victoria embankment. Today it is largely dominated by a busy through road and station, but it is a historical site which has been at the centre of both London religion and theatre across the centuries.

The original Black Friars were Dominicans, named for their robes, not because they were naughty little monks, and they settled in the area around 1224. The priory here was of premier importance amongst the 50 or so established in the UK. It became the site of early parliamentary conclaves and one of Henry VIII's and Katharine of Aragon's divorce hearings took place here.

Unfortunately, the Blackfriars Priory's importance made it a prime target, and come the Dissolution it was reduced to rubble.

It was replaced by the Blackfriars theatre, run by James Burbage and with later shareholders including one William Shakespeare. The theatre stood on the site between 1596 and 1655.