Clarkenwell has long been a fashionable place of residence. The much sort after Clarkenwell Close was places of residence of the famous Oliver Cromwell and the duke of Northumberland to name a few. The area was renowned for its Spas, Tea Gardens and Theatres in the 17th century, some of which is still evident today. The industrial revolution transformed the area into a centre for Breweries and Distilleries developed to satisfy the thirst of the men who drove the countries Great Revolution. Skilled crafts such as Clock and Watch manufacturing was native to the area and this heritage still exists today with a host of workshops still evident. Today many professional companies have offices here and the area boasts its sort after location with nightclubs and restaurants lying on the north side of Smithfields market.
In close proximity lies Barbican. Built by the Roman invaders to protect a new settlement by the river, Barbican became the home of many people. Barbican housed people from all walks of life particularly thieves and receivers of stolen goods in the 16th century. The area was also home to William Shakespeare, who lived on the corner of Monkwell Street and Silver Street. The area is currently home to the Barbican Centre, which is considered to be the largest performing arts centre in Europe.