The Underground Map

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The Underground Map is a project which is creating street histories for the areas of London and surrounding counties lying inside the M25.

Latest on The Underground Map...
Basing Street, W11
Basing Street was originally Basing Road between 1867 and 1939. Basing Street might have acquired its name from the railway developer landowner James Whitchurch from Southampton, near Basingstoke. Alternatively it could have been named in honour of the 16th century landlord, Sir William Paulet or Pawlet, Lord St John of Basing and Marquis of Winchester, Lord High Treasurer in the reign of Elizabeth I.

The foundation stone for a congregational chapel, was laid by the Nottingham Liberal MP Samuel Morley in July 1865, "at a time when all this part was little more than open fields."

Waxwork models produced on Basing Street for Madame Tussaud’s included the local serial killer John Christie from 10 Rillington Place. In the late 1960s the building had another famous reincarnation as the offices and studios of Island Records. Chris Blackwell’s first memory of the premises is being freaked out when he found himself in a room full of dummies. Led Zeppelin began recording their fourth album, including ’Stairway To H...


In a series of maps from the 1750s until the 1950s, you can see how London grew from a city which only reached as far as Park Lane into the post war megapolis we know today. There are now over 85 000 articles on all variety of locations including roads, houses, schools, pubs and palaces.

You can begin exploring by choosing a place from the dropdown list at the top left and then clicking Reset Location.

As maps are displayed, click on the markers to view location articles.

You can also view historical maps of London - click on the "pile of paper" control on the top right of a page's map to change to a particular decade.

Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence

Citations, sources, links and further reading

The mewses of old London Town.
Blog from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Library
Recollections of people from North Kensington, London
Histor­ically inclined look at the capital’s obscure attractions
All-encompassing website
Digital library of key printed primary and secondary sources.
Facebook group, covering the history of W10 and W11.
Facebook Page
Facebook Page
Facebook Page


Featured articles



Leman Street, E1
Leman Street was named after Sir John Leman. The street was once officially called Red Lion Street but Leman Street was in use concurrently and pronounced like ’lemon’ locally. ’Leman’ was an old term for a mistress or lover. In 1831 the Garrick Theatre but was demolished in 1891 and the police station rebuilt on the site. There was a local German community which supported a ’Christian Home for German Artisans’ (later a German YMCA) and also a private German hotel.

The Eastern Dispensary was set up in Great Alie Street in 1782 by a group of doctors. This moved to new premises in Leman Street in 1858 but closed its doors finally in 1940.

In 1887 the Co-operative Wholesale Society opened the headquarters of its London operations on the corner of Leman Street and Hooper Street. This was a seven-storey structure in brick, granite and Portland stone incorporating a sugar warehouse and a prominent clock tower.

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Prescot Street, E1
Prescot Street was named for Rebecca Prescott, wife of William Leman. Prescot Street was originally Great Prescott Street and ran along the south of Goodman’s Fields.

The road was developed for good-quality housing and it became one of the earliest London streets to have numbered buildings (rather than signs). An early resident, before he moved to Soho Square, was the ’rough old admiral’ Sir Cloudesley Shovel.

From the late nineteenth century there was a synagogue in the street, and between 1857 and 1880 the Jewish Widows’ Home Asylum. In the early twentieth century the Association for the Protection of Women and Girls ran a refuge for young girls arriving in London who were deemed at risk from pimps and procurers.

Little Prescot Street was the continuation of Mansell Street, running from the western end of Great Prescot Street to Royal Mint Street; its original name was Rosemary Branch Alley.
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Alie Street, E1
Originally called Ayliff Street, Alie Street was named after a relative of William Leman, whose great-uncle, John Leman had bought Goodman’s Fields. Alie Street along with Leman Street, Prescot Street and Mansell Street from the turn of the eighteenth century while Goodman’s Fields was used as a tenterground.

In the 1800s this section of Alie Street was also known as Great Alie Street, with the extension which went east from Leman Street to Commercial Road being known as Little Alie Street.

Alie Street now links Mansell Street with Commercial Road.
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Whitehall, SW1A
Whitehall is recognised as the centre of the government of the United Kingdom. The name ’Whitehall’ was used for several buildings in the Tudor period - referring to their colour, consisting of light stone. This included the Royal Palace of Whitehall, which gave its name to the street.

The Palace of Whitehall was the residence of Kings Henry VIII through to William III before its destruction by fire in 1698. Whitehall was originally the road that led to the front of the palace. It was widened in the 18th century following the destruction of the palace.

It became a popular place to live by the 17th century. Oliver Cromwell had moved to Wallingford House in the street in 1647. Two years later, Charles I was carried through Whitehall on the way to his trial at Westminster Hall. Whitehall had sufficient space for a scaffold to be erected for the King’s execution in 1649. Cromwell in turn died at the Palace of Whitehall in 1658.

By the 18th century, traffic struggled along the narrow streets south of Holbein Gate. Th...



Westminster - heart of government. While the underground station dates from 1868, Westminster itself is almost as old as London itself. It has a large concentration of London’s historic and prestigious landmarks and visitor attractions, including the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral.

Historically part of the parish of St Margaret in the City and Liberty of Westminster and the county of Middlesex, the name Westminster was the ancient description for the area around Westminster Abbey – the West Minster, or monastery church, that gave the area its name – which has been the seat of the government of England (and later the British government) for almost a thousand years.

Westminster is the location of the Palace of Westminster, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which houses the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

The area has been the seat of the government of England for almost a thousand years. Westminster is thus ...



Spring Gardens, SW1A
Spring Gardens derives its name from the Spring Garden, formed in the 16th century as an addition to the pleasure grounds of Whitehall Palace. The word ’Spring’ in this sense meant a plantation of young trees, especially one used for rearing game. The Spring Garden was shown on the Agas map as a little copse enclosed with a fence, and there are later references to pheasants and other "wild fowl" being preserved there.

In 1580 the garden was extended with a bowling green, a birdhouse, a bathing pool and the planting of orange trees. Before the end of James I’s reign, the garden had become a semi-public pleasure ground.

In 1631 a Simon Osbaldeston was appointed to keep "the Springe Garden and of the Bowling Greene there."

There was at least one house in Spring Garden as early as 1635 and more house building occurred over the next forty years. Towards the close of the 17th century, part of the Spring Garden had become a refuge for debtors. One of the most notorious was Sir Edward Hungerford and the Board of Greencloth finally to allow creditors to serve processes on...



Fentiman Road, SW8
Fentiman Road is named after local mid-19th century developer John Fentiman. Fentiman Road is a broad, attractive road aligned northwest to southeast and has a leafy residential character.

On the north side, Vauxhall Park has a long frontage enclosed by railings and lends a leafy character to this end. Along from the park gate are the red brick, Tudor-revival Noel Caron Almshouses (1854) which have been established locally since the 17th century. Next to these are a row of 1830s stucco villas.

The south side of Fentiman Road is characterised by late 19th century terraced housing in two distinct groups.

Forming an attractive landmark at the junction with Meadow Road is the Cavalry Church, red brick in the Perpendicular style.
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