Newman Passage, Fitzrovia - History and Facts | History Hit

Newman Passage, Fitzrovia

London, England, United Kingdom

Linking Newman Street with Rathbone Street in Fitzrovia, Newman Passage is an innocuous but historically-fascinating cobbled cut-through dating from 1746.

Lily Johnson

18 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Lee Ph /

About Newman Passage, Fitzrovia

Newman Passage is a narrow cobbled lane linking Newman Street with Rathbone Street in Fitzrovia, which offer visitors a glimpse into the world of Georgian London.

Newman Passage history

Dating from 1746, the high walls and small windows of Newman Passage give a sense of the seedy underbelly of 18th-century London – one almost expects Bill Sykes to come strutting around the corner with Bullseye in tow.

In the 19th century, Fitzrovia and the adjacent Bloomsbury became a melting pot and gathering place of left-wing literary types, anarchists, radicals and other pseudo-politicos, with Newman Passage itself home to a co-operative kitchen for Communist refugees. It was also a famous location for London’s ‘streetwalkers’.

Adjacent to the lane is the Newman Arms, a pub built in 1730 that was used previously as a tallow chandler, an ironmongery, a picture framers, and a brothel. A popular hangout for George Orwell, it inspired the ‘Proles’ pub in his dystopian novel 1984.

Newman Passage today

Today Newman Passage is a stereotypical ‘ye olde’ London alley, and has been used by a plethora of filmmakers for a dark Georgian or Victorian atmosphere.

The big draw for visitors is the Newman Arms however, where patrons can drink in the same spots as the likes of George Orwell and Dylan Thomas. The nautical-themed ground floor is tiny, but the upstairs Pie Room is permanently packed so make sure to book!

From outside the pub a painted picture of a woman may also be viewed in a top-floor window, a reminder of the buildings past role as a brothel.

Newman Passage is easily overlooked for the more prominent tourist spots in London, but for a genuine peek at what life may have been like in the 18th and 19th centuries, take a walk through and imagine if the walls could talk…

Getting to Newman Passage

Newman Passage is located in Fitzrovia in London, and can be reached via a number of public transport options. Tottenham Court Road Underground station is a 5-minute walk away, while a number of bus services run to Oxford Road, a 7-minute walk away. The nearest train station is also London Euston, a 20-minute walk away.

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