Saffron Hill is the name of a street in the south eastern corner of the London Borough of Camden, between Farringdon Road and Hatton Garden. The name of the street derives from the fact that it was at one time part of an estate on which saffron grew.
In 1850 it was described as a squalid neighbourhood, the home of paupers and thieves. In Charles Dickens's 1837 novel Oliver Twist (Chapter 8), the Artful Dodger leads Oliver to Fagin's den in Field Lane, the southern extension of Saffron Hill: "a dirty and more wretched place he [Oliver] had never seen. The street was very narrow and muddy, and the air was impregnated with filthy odours".
Saffron Hill formed part of the liberty of Saffron Hill, Hatton Garden, Ely Rents and Ely Place which became part of the County of London in 1889. It was abolished in 1900 and formed part of the Metropolitan Borough of Holborn until 1965.
Saffron Hill, or the "Liberty of Saffron Hill, Hatton Garden, Ely Rents and Ely Place" to give it its full name, was an extra-parochial liberty in Middlesex, immediately adjoining the western edge of the City of London. It was made a civil parish in 1866. In 1889 it was transferred from Middlesex to the newly-created County of London, and in 1900 it became part of Holborn Metropolitan Borough. Holborn Metropolitan Borough was abolished in 1965, becoming part of the London Borough of Camden.