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City of London ·
September
15
2019

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


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.

Latest on The Underground Map...
St Matthew Friday Street
St. Matthew Friday Street was a church in the City of London located on Friday Street, off Cheapside. Recorded since the 13th century, the church was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, then rebuilt by the office of Sir Christopher Wren. The rebuilt church was demolished in 1885.

St. Matthew was the only church in the City of London dedicated to the apostle and patron saint of accountants. Friday Street was so named, according to John Stow, after the fishmongers living there, although none are recorded in the parish records.

Cheapside was the principal market street of medieval London and many of the lesser streets running off were called after the commodity sold there, such as Milk Street, Bread Street and Wood Street. It is more likely, therefore, that Friday Street was so called from fishmongers vending, rather than living there.

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Featured articles

MAY
15
2019

 

Southgate
Southgate village originated as a tiny hamlet, which grew up in the north-west corner of Edmonton parish, along the southern boundary of Enfield Chase. The name derived from the south gate of Enfield Chase, which stood roughly where Chase Road now joins Winchmore Hill Road. The area was originally very heavily wooded, with large estates of oak coppice woods; the last remains of the woodland can be seen in Grovelands Park. Enfield Chase was enclosed in 1777. On the 1803 enclosure map, the settlement is called Chase Side after its main thoroughfare, and what is now Southgate Green is called Southgate. On this map, the four roads which form the crossroads – Chase Side, Bourneside, Chase Road and High Street – are quite densely developed near the junction, with long narrow frontage plots and more generous larger houses in substantial grounds.

Much of the land formed part of the large Grovelands and Arnos estates. The early railways in the mid 19th century gave Southgate a wide berth because of its hilly terrain and, until the arrival of the Piccadilly line extension, the nearest station to Southgate town centre was Pal...
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MAY
14
2019

 

Poplar High Street, E14
Until the late nineteenth century Poplar High Street was the district’s principal street. Its commercial importance declined rapidly from the 1860s, and in the late 1880s it was reported that ’Many shops have been empty for years’.

Nearly two-thirds of a mile in length, and on average only a little over 30ft in width, Poplar High Street contained 327 houses when it was renumbered in 1865. Most were narrow, with an average width of under 17ft. Extending along the southern edge of the river-terrace flood-plain gravel, it provided an indirect approach to Blackwall, and, perhaps as important, access to the ways which extended down from its south side into the rich pasture of the Isle of Dogs. The house-sites on this south side of the street sloped sharply downward and this was sometimes thought the less salubrious side. In 1863 the sewer behind the public house at No. 270 was still an open ditch of ’water carried away at every tide’. It was on this ill-drained south side, however, that a clear if discontinuous line of ’back lane&rsq...
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MAY
13
2019

 

Kilburn Grange Park
Kilburn Grange Park is a three hectare open space adjacent to Kilburn High Road. The park takes its name from a large mansion - The Grange - which was built in 1831 and stood facing Kilburn High Road where the Grange Cinema eventually stood.

The Grange, at the end of its time, stood at the centre of the poorest and most crowded part of Kilburn. The streets were the only open space outside the playgrounds of the Council schools.

The first hopes that the space could be made into a public park were raised in 1901 when the owner, Ada Peters, decided that she didn’t want a school built on the edge of her grounds, in Kingsgate Road. She encouraged local residents in the belief that they could purchase the grounds as a park. However, the London School Board had already bought the land in 1892, renting it back to the Peters family until the school was needed.

A local Grange Open Space Committee was formed in April 1901 to resist the ’mutilation’ of the grounds: the short-lived campaign gained popular support befo...
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MAY
12
2019

 

Islington
Islington grew as a sprawling Middlesex village along the line of the Great North Road, and has provided the name of the modern borough. Some roads on the edge of the area, including Essex Road, were known as streets by the medieval period, possibly indicating a Roman origin, but little physical evidence remains. What is known is that the Great North Road from Aldersgate came into use in the 14th century, connecting with a new turnpike up Highgate Hill. This was along the line of modern Upper Street, with a toll gate at The Angel defining the extent of the village. The Back Road - modern Liverpool Road - was primarily a drovers’ road where cattle would be rested before the final leg of their journey to Smithfield. Pens and sheds were erected along this road to accommodate the animals.

The first recorded church, St Mary’s, was erected in the twelfth century and was replaced in the fifteenth century. Islington lay on the estates of the Bishop of London and the Dean and Chapter of St Pauls. There were substantial medieval moated manor houses in the area, principally at Canonbury and Highbury. In 1548, t...
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MAY
11
2019

 

Hodgson's Farm
Hodgson’s Farm stood nearly at today’s meetingpoint of Chapter Road and Park Avenue. Hay was the major crop on the farm, owned by a Robert Hodgson.

In the accompanying photo, the farm and farmyard are seen from across a field at the very start of the 20th century. Shortly afterwards it disappeared as the whole of Willesden Green was developed.
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MAY
10
2019

 

Parliament Hill Fields
Parliament Hill is an area of open parkland in the south-east corner of Hampstead Heath. In 1875 Hampstead Heath was acquired for the people by the Metropolitan Board of Works. Thirteen years later Parliament Hill was purchased for the public for £300 000 and added to Hampstead Heath. It has been administered by the City of London Corporation since 1989.It is a popular place that is used by walkers, runners and kite flyers.

Parliament Hill is 98 metres high and notable for its excellent views of the capital’s skyline - to Canary Wharf, the Gherkin, the Shard and St Paul’s Cathedral.

It is known particularly as a cross-country running venue and hosted the 2009 English National Championships. The 2012 English National Cross Country Championships were also staged at Parliament Hill.
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MAY
9
2019

 

Upper Woodcote Village, CR8
Upper Woodcote Village was the first area of the Webb Estate to be completed. Chartered surveyor William Webb designed his 260-acre estate as a concept of co-operation between architect and gardener. The estate was built around the imaginative use of of plants and shrubs, with each road having a different character.

Webb had bought the Foxley estate in 1888 and planted trees, flowers and hedgerows that were allowed to mature. Only in 1901 with the coming of the local tram service, were homes were built and offered for sale.

Upper Woodcote Village surrounds a green of four acres. When the green was first laid out, Webb introduced a flock of geese to a pond he had built in one corner. The pond was eventually filled in.

Webb was a Quaker and the Lord Roberts Temperance Inn - named after Field Marshall Lord Roberts - was a "pub with no beer." It was later a coffee shop and post office.

Most of the inner roads of the estate were laid out from 1907 and the plots were developed between 1912 and 1920.
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MAY
8
2019

 

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, is one of the world’s greatest churches. According to a tradition first reported by Sulcard in about 1080, a church was founded at the site, then known as Thorn Ey (Thorn Island), in the 7th century, at the time of Mellitus (d. 624), a Bishop of London. The island was a marshy retreat from the City of London, flanked by two channels of the Tyburn River, which flowed where Downing Street and Great College Street now run. Construction of the present church was begun in 1245, on the orders of Henry III.

It is a designated World Heritage Site and ‘Royal Peculiar’, which means the Dean is directly answerable to the monarch. The coronation of Kings and Queens has taken place here since 1066, and many of the nation’s Kings and Queens are buried in the Abbey. Principal among them is St Edward the Confessor, King of England from 1042 to 1066, whose shrine is at the heart of the Abbey. The Abbey has hosted many royal weddings.

Apart from the royal graves, there are many famous commoners interred her...
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MAY
7
2019

 

Bridge House
Built around 1705 and demolished in 1950, Bridge House in George Row was once surrounded by the Jacob’s Island rookery. Jacob’s Island was immortalised by Charles Dickens’s novel ’Oliver Twist’, in which the principal villain Bill Sikes meets a nasty end in the mud of ’Folly Ditch’.

Dickens was taken to this then-impoverished and unsavory location by the officers of the river police, with whom he would occasionally go on patrol. When a local politician attempted to deny the very existence of Jacob’s Island, Dickens gave him short shrift, describing the area as the filthiest, the strangest, the most extraordinary of the many localities that are hidden in London. The area was once notoriously squalid and described as The very capital of cholera and The Venice of drains by the Morning Chronicle of 1849.

The ditches were filled in the early 1850s, and the area later redeveloped as warehouses.
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MAY
6
2019

 

Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace is a royal residence set in Kensington Gardens. It has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century. The palace is the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, while the Duke and Duchess of Kent reside at Wren House.

Kensington Palace, earlier known as Nottingham House, has its origins in a Jacobean mansion built in 1605. Shortly after William and Mary assumed the throne as joint monarchs in 1689, they began searching for a residence better situated for the comfort of the asthmatic William. In summer 1689, William and Mary bought Kensington Palace from Daniel Finch, 2nd Earl of Nottingham.

George I spent lavishly on new royal apartments from 1718. William Kent painted a staircase and some ceilings. In 1722 he designed the Cupola Room, the principal state room, with feigned coffering in its high coved ceiling; in 1819, the Cupola Room was the site of the christening of Princess Alexandrina Victoria, who had been born at Kensington, in the apartments of the ...
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MAY
5
2019

 

Chartist meeting, Kennington Common (1848)
On 10 April 1848, William Kilburn took daguerrotypes of the Great Chartist Meeting on Kennington Common – taken from the top of The Horns tavern were the first ever photos of a crowd scene. William Kilburn opened his portrait studio on London’s Regent Street in 1846. He was commissioned to make daguerreotype portraits of the Royal Family between 1846 and 1852 as the Royal Photographer, and was awarded a prize medal for his photographs at the 1851 Great Exhibition.

The Chartists who took their name from Magna Carta were the first British national working class movement. Their meetings had a carnival-like atmosphere.

Tensions were high on that April morning – there were those who feared that civil strife would break out. Between 6-10 April, extra troops were brought to the capital and the authorities enlisted 170 000 special constables. However, on 10th, instead of the half million expected, only about twenty to thirty thousand Chartists demonstrated, and there was little violence.
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MAY
4
2019

 

Kensington Canal
The Kensington Canal was a canal, about two miles long, opened in 1828 in London from the River Thames at Chelsea, along the line of Counter’s Creek, to a basin near Warwick Road in Kensington. It had one lock near the Kensington Basin. It was not commercially successful, and was purchased by a railway company, which laid its line along the route of the canal.

Counter’s Creek was a minor tributary of the Thames running south from Kensal Green to join the main river west of Battersea Bridge.

Lord Kensington, William Edwardes, seeing the success of the Regent’s Canal, asked his surveyor William Cutbush in 1822 to draw up plans to convert the creek into a canal, with the object of bringing goods and minerals from the London docks to the Kensington area, then a rural district isolated from London.

After some modifications, Cutbush’s plan obtained Parliamentary sanction in 1824, and the Kensington Canal Company was incorporated in that year. William Edwardes and a group of his friends were the proprietors; the cost of construction had been estimated as £7,969. The share capital of the company was £10,000 in one hun...
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MAY
3
2019

 

Coldharbour Farm
Coldharbour Farm, which was active in Hayes until the 1950s, was once the property of the Minet family. Properties in Hayes, Middlesex, acquired piecemeal by the Minet family, were collectively known as the Minet Estate. The Minets were a French Huguenot family who came to England after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1686.

At its height the Minet Estate comprised a very large portion of the eastern side of the parish of Hayes.

Not only did they own Coldharbour Farm but Hayes Court Farm, Hayes Bridge Farm, East Acton Brickworks, Victoria Sawmills, Wistowe, Porch House, Townfield and the Grange.
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MAY
2
2019

 

Mops and Brooms
Nelson Cottage, Well End, is a two storey two bay timber framed house dating from c1600. It became a beer house in 1841. It was bought by Hertford Brewers McMullen’s in 1912 and was known as the Lord Nelson.

It closed in 1932 and the building reverted back to a dwelling house, McMullen’s building the new Lord Nelson on an adjacent plot of land.

For some time the pub had been affectionately known by locals as The Mops and Brooms. The name supposedly derived from a fight between gypsies, farm labourers and poachers who frequented the pub and who used the travellers wares of mops and
brooms in a mighty punch up.

When McMullen’s decided to officially change the name to The Mops & Brooms the original sign, a portrait of Lord Nelson, was replaced by one depicting the fight. The old sign now hangs over a fireplace in the pub.
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MAY
1
2019

 

Whitechapel Road, E1
Whitechapel Road is a major arterial road in East London. It connects Aldgate (as Whitechapel High Street) with Mile End Road. Whitechapel Road is part of the historic Roman road from London to Colchester.

The road had become built up by the 19th century - by the 1870s, the road had become extensively developed with properties along the entire stretch of the road. A market became established in the road.

The Whitechapel Bell Foundry, a principal supplier of church bells, was until its closure in 2017, based at 32–34 Whitechapel Road.

Several ethnic minority communities have based themselves on Whitechapel Road. The road was a focal point of the Jewish Community between the 1850s and 1930s, with many Jewish shops and market stalls. Towards the latter part of the 20th century, the street became an established settlement of the Bangladeshi community.
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