by Ben Johnson
This tiny courtyard has a wealth of history attached to it. Not only was it home to the Texan Republic’s embassy (until it joined the United States in 1845) and is the smallest square in Britain, but it is also the last place in London where a duel was fought!
As soon as you walk into the courtyard, the original gaslights, unspoilt Georgian architecture and quiet seclusion take you back to a previous time. In the 18th century this seclusion was one of the reasons the square was notorious for its gambling dens, bear baiting and duels! It is even said that Beau Brummel, close friend to King George IV and inventor of the cravat, once fought here.
Nowadays, you can find Pickering Place by venturing onto St James Street and looking for either a closed gate or the number “3” above its entrance. You can also find it by looking for King Henry’s old barn as it is almost directly opposite, with its passageway squeezed between two old 16th century shops.
As you walk through the passageway you can find the location of the old Texan embassy by looking for the plaque which says…
In this building was
the legation for the
ministers from the
Republic of Texas
Court of St. James
Pickering Place is easily accessible by both bus and rail, please try our London Transport Guide for further information.