The monastic institution of the Priory of St John and St Mary's nunnery formed the earliest development here, but the 'closed shop' practices of City merchants forced many craftsmen, especially Huguenots and Italians, to settle outside the City's authority, particularly in nearby Clerkenwell. Watch and clockmaking, printing and jewellery became the special trades of the area. Even today, an Italian community is evident here. Here too were the beginnings of London's theatre, some entertainment resorts and also the reservoir and works of the New River, an essential part of London's water supply.
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