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11 November 2009

Find the entrance to Sweeney Todd's barber shop

Whether or not Sweeney Todd was based on fact or urban legend, he came to fame through a serial titled The String of Pearls, which was published in the 1840s. In the story, his barber shop is at 186 Fleet Street, beside St Dunstan's church, and is connected to Mrs Lovett's pie shop in Bell Yard by a secret passage.

Todd murders his customers by slitting their throats and then pulling a lever to drop them through a trap door into the basement. As your author remembers the tale (second hand, admittedly) Mrs Lovett then assists him by baking the flesh into meat pies, and the bones are stored in the crypt of St Dunstan's.

Whilst 186 Fleet Street is now, rather unatmospherically, a branch of Kall Kwik, to the rear, with access down the side of the next door shop, Hen and Chickens Yard still has an air much like it might have done in the mid-1800s and you can imagine Sweeney Todd stood at the door, beckoning you inside. The only problem is that nowadays it smells overwhelmingly of wee.

For more on Sweeney Todd, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweeney_Todd

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