The Cupola the old name for 42 St Mary Street.
In 1738 the property was called the ‘Gate House’ or ‘Cupola’, described as built over the west end of a passage, which included a number of rooms built along the south side of the passage (SRO D/B/bw/1685,1734). This passage was the rear entrance to the Swan Inn on the Cornhill (now the site of the Cornhill pub), primarily used for horses and coaches (D/B/bw/CL/95). The rear entrance to the Swan is first mentioned in 1564 (D/B/bw/CL/95).
The name ‘Cupola’ is perplexing. It tends to refer to cup-shaped features, although these can go up as well as down. A cupola on a roof is a small dome, often with a bell underneath. However it can also refer to a cup-shaped hole in the ground used for smelting, especially for bells. So the Cupola may have once had a dome on the roof, or it might have once been an industrial site.
From 1832 the Cupola was leased by Richard Burt, a linen draper, when it was described as ‘a dwelling house and shop… formerly known as the Cupola’. The property measured 26 feet 4 inches along St Mary Street and 44 feet 6 inches deep. By this time the buildings along the passageway were no longer part of the Cupola property.
Miles Kerr-Peterson 25 September 2020