King Street

At the end of Common Garden Street cross King Street at the lights and turn right.

King street is one of the oldest streets in Lancaster.  It was known as Chennell Lane in 1610 and is shown on Speed's map (no. 19).  It was subsequently known as Back Lane.  The upper end of King Street was widened in 1937.  The name King Street may have come from via regia - the road to the Castle.

1610 map

Penny's Almshouses

Penny Almshouses entrance

The Penny almshouses were established from a 700 endowment left by William Penny (Mayor of Lancaster) in 1716. They were built for 12 poor men in 1720.  The photograph shows the gateway on King Street.

As well as the almshouses there was a small chapel.  From 1770 this chapel housed the Boys Blue Coat School (there was also a girls school established in 1772 in High Street). These were charity schools. The boys school educated sons of craftsmen in reading, writing and arithmetic.

Penny's almshouses and chapel

 Assembly Rooms

Assembly Rooms

The assembly rooms were built in 1759 by the Trustees of Penny's Almshouses.  Income from social events at the Assembly Rooms provided for the almshouses.

The King's Arms Hotel

There has been an inn on this site at least since the late 17th century.  In 1664 John Hunter was the innkeeper and he paid duty on 10 hearths.  Over the years the inn grew in size and importance.  In 1766 it was assessed for 80 windows and from 1825 it became the most important coaching inn in Lancaster with seven named coaches arriving daily.  Charles Dickens stayed here, as did members of European royal families.  The old coaching inn was demolished in 1879 and the present building was opened in 1882.

Cross King Street in front of Waterstones and walk down Market Street.

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