• LOCATION 15 | Theatreland Tour with Ian McKellen

    Neal Street

    The ventures of Thomas Neal MP were many and varied. He set up the postal service in the United States, and the first lottery in England. He developed a method of raising shipwrecks and invented a cheat-proof dice.

    He also laid out the very streets you’re walking along. Think back to Seven Dials -- there’s a reason that seven streets run off from the monument like spokes on a wheel.

    In the 1600s, commercial rent was charged by the width of the shop front. Mr Neal realised that a triangular, criss-crossing layout would create many more shop fronts and bring in far more cash.

    So the maze-like geography of Seven Dials is in fact a money-making wheeze concocted by the most pioneering hustler of the 17th century.

Theatreland Tour with Ian McKellen