The term originally for an enclosed place in which the sport of cock-fighting was carried on. On the site of an old cockpit opposite Whitehall in London was a block of buildings used from the 17th century as offices by the treasury and the privy council, for which the old name survived till the early 19th century. The name was given also to a theater in London, built in the early part of the 17th century on the site of Drury Lane theater. As the place where the wounded in battle were tended, or where the junior officers consorted, the term was also formerly applied to a cabin used for these purposes on the lower deck of a man-of-war.
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