Behind its mock Tudor exterior, Tudor house is genuinely Tudor, built at the the beginning of the 17th century. It was originally a tavern, with the barrels brought up a stream at the back of the house. Shakespeare’s ‘Comedy of Errors’ was first performed at the nearby Gray’s Inn hall, so its even possible he drank here.

Holborn 1650 
(Tudor house just beyond left of map) 

At first surrounded by fields, the area was rapidly developed, by the lawyers to the east and by the Red Lion Square development to the west. Red Lion square was the very first speculative development in London, and at the time was fiercely opposed by the lawyers. Tudor house remained stuck between the two, a sort of no-man’s land.


Since then it has been through numerous changes. The roof was damaged in WW2 and rebuilt with an extra floor. The building was owned by an electrical contractor until 1980, when the ground floor became a specialist electric typewriter repair centre. In 1990, when offices everywhere were changing to computers, the business went bust. The building then became residential, with the ground floor let as a shop - for many years selling mosaic supplies.  

Novelty Automation has its roots in the history of the area - a 21st century revival of the irreverent 18th century print shops and exhibitions of automata.