Vandon Passage probably dates from the fifteenth century.
Cornelius Van Dun, a Dutchman and Yeoman of the Guard to Henry VIII, built a row of almshouses in 1575 for the well being of eight deprived women of the district. Not content with this singular generous deed, he provided the cash for the building of twelve more at St Ermin’s Hill - now around the back of St James’s Park Station.
At the time the almshouses were built, Petty France
had already been in existence for about 100 years as a continuation of Tothill Street
, the main west road from the Abbey. For those living in the alleys to the south of here, Vandon Passage was a vital link with civilisation, long before the roadway of Buckingham Gate
was constructed and when the line of Victoria Street
was still a dusty track. Vandon Street
, still almost as narrow as it was 400 years ago, is a survivor of one of these alleys and marks the southern limit of the plot purchased by Van Dun.
During the day the Passage reclines in an almost hushed withdrawal from existence, but rises during the lunchtime and early evening hours as an indispensable cut-through for those eager to take refreshment in the Buckingham Arms in Petty France