Cloth Fair is a street in the City of London where, in medieval times, merchants gathered to buy and sell material during the Bartholomew Fair. Today, it is a short residential street to the east of Smithfield in the north-western part of the City and is located in the ward of Farringdon Within.
The street runs southwest to northeast from Little Britain, the very start of the A1 road, the country's longest named road, parallel to Long Lane to the north and bordered by the Anglican church of St. Bartholomew-the-Great to the south, until it merges with Middle Street some 150 yards later.
The street was originally within the precincts of the Priory of St. Bartholomew's, and until 1910 formed a separate liberty, with gates that were shut at night. Such a small area could not meet the demands of installing street lighting and sewers, and rejoined the City. The area has a rich history, a colourful past and proud literary tradition. It contains within its boundaries the oldest residential dwelling in London, a pair of properties administered by the Landmark Trust, and the former home of English poet John Betjeman, now a restaurant.
The nearest London Underground station is Barbican (Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines) and the closest mainline railway station is Farringdon.
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