The Hand & Shears

The Hand and Shears is a Grade II listed public house at 1 Middle Street, Smithfield, London.

It was named after the former Bartholomew Fair, held at Smithfield for centuries, at which the Lord Mayor of London would come and cut a piece of cloth with a pair of shears to announce that the fair had begun.

The Hand & Shears stands on the site of an alehouse that was built in the precincts of St. Bartholemew’s Priory in 1123. The tavern remained in obscurity until Tudor times, when it became a meeting place for London’s tailors and drapers, whose cloth fair at Smithfield used to start on Bartholomew’s Day and continue for a fortnight.