“First constructed in the 16th century for English heraldic mottos, and notably quoted as che sera sera by Christopher Marlowe in his 1604 play Doctor Faustus (Act 1, Scene 1). From standard Italian quel che sarà, sarà (“what will be, will be”), ignoring the correct spelling and grammar (according to which a pronoun such as quel, quello or ciò is compulsorily needed at the very beginning of the sentence).
Popularized by the 1956 song “Que Sera, Sera”, which adopted a Spanish-like spelling.”
From: ‘General Introduction’, in Survey of London: Volume 36, Covent Garden, ed. F H W Sheppard (London, 1970):
“…Two centuries ago the noonday sun shining into the arcades of Covent Garden Piazza threw into relief the large and lucid design of the facades framed by the high arches. Today a near-copy of part of the arcaded walk still stands, but the open coherence of design has been lost from the prospect on which it looks, the very shape of the Piazza has become imperceptible, and where the great quadrangle once presented its orderly and intelligible dignity the visitor now has difficulty in preserving his bearings of north, south, east and west…
What is not known with any certainty is why Covent Garden was adorned with the supreme distinction of Inigo Jones’s architecture. That Jones designed the church and houses on the west, north and east sides of the Piazza there is no reason to doubt. No mention of or payment to him has been found, however, in the archives of the Bedford estate, where the only ostensible connexion of the Earl with the Surveyor of the King’s Works is in the occurrence of two names associated with both men: Isaac de Caus and Edward Carter…
The houses built on the site of Bedford House in 1706–14 were of a good class, and in at least one respect the Duke followed his great-grandfather’s example in the Piazza, by building a range of houses in Southampton Street at his own expense. Southampton Street was gated against the passage of market carts. But the new streets had one effect of great significance for the subordination of Covent Garden to its market, in that the building of Tavistock Row on the south side of the Piazza caused the removal of the market into the central railed enclosure. The views across the Piazza were thus impaired and the piecemeal destruction of its Caroline harmony made likelier. Some violence had already been done to it by the rebuilding of the northern house flanking the church in 1689, and a greater violence followed in 1716–17 when Lord Orford’s house (No. 43 King Street) was rebuilt without its portico walk.
The growth of the market down to the end of the eighteenth century can be quickly traced. In 1671 the fifth Earl had leased his market rights for seven years, at £5 per annum. The second lease, granted in 1677, was for twenty-one years at £80 per annum plus a premium of 100 guineas. In 1705 the second Duke reverted profitably to yearly lettings, and in the next seven years the annual rents ranged from £500 to £700. In 1741 the rent was £1,200 per annum. By 1748 a miscellaneous trade was conducted in the market, and the rebuilding at that time provided 106 shops and 229 ‘stands’. These were low but substantial buildings, and marked another weakening in the concept of the Piazza as an open space enhancing the dignity and value of the houses surrounding it. On the other hand, by 1798 the market lessee was paying the Duke £2,500 per annum.
The family motto of the Dukes of Bedford, che sara sara, is inscribed on the market buildings (see image), and seems to make its own appropriate comment on the market’s growth. If not quite inevitable, that growth to the market’s present dominating position was eased by clear advantages which it possessed from the beginning over its rivals. The market’s central position was not unique, and the means of access far from good. But it enjoyed the great asset of a large area—the Piazza—explicitly and unambiguously licensed for its use, and, perhaps even more important, the unified possession of the market franchise and the freehold of the whole site and its environs in one uninterrupted ownership…”