Cecil Court, WC2H

Road in/near Leicester Square, existing between 1670 and now

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Road · Leicester Square · WC2H ·
December
13
2018

Cecil Court is a pedestrian street with Victorian shop-frontages.

Cecil Court after heavy rain
Credit: Christian Cross

It links Charing Cross Road and St Martin’s Lane. The street is still owned by the Cecil family who first built it. The buildings there today were built around 1894 during the tenure of another Cecil - Prime Minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury.

Cecil Court was laid out in the late seventeenth-century on open land between St Martin’s Lane and Leicester Square. Early maps identify a hedgerow running down the street’s course.

Landowner Robert Cecil had been created first Earl of Salisbury by James I after he smoothed over the transition from the house of Tudor to that of the Stuarts. The land on which Cecil Court now stands was purchased in 1609. It had previously been St Martin’s Field. Cecil Court was built on a five acre tract formerly known as Beaumont’s lands, probably in the 1670s.

A substantial part of Cecil Court burned down in 1735. This was almost certainly arson by a Mrs Colloway who was running a combined brothel/brandy parlour and had suspiciously over-insured her stock. Since she was drinking elsewhere with friends at the time the fire took hold, she was acquitted.

In 1764, the street became the temporary home of eight-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart while he was touring Europe. For almost four months the Mozart family lodged with local barber John Couzin.

Booksellers William and Gilbert Foyle opened their first West End book shop at 16 Cecil Court in 1904, before moving to Charing Cross Road in 1906.

It for a time Cecil Court had the nickname Flicker Alley from the concentration of pre-First World War film companies found there.

Since the 1930s, it has been known as Booksellers’ Row with nearly twenty antiquarian and second-hand independent book shops.

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Cecil Court after heavy rain
Christian Cross

VIEW THE LEICESTER SQUARE AREA IN THE 1750s
The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1750 map does not display.

VIEW THE LEICESTER SQUARE AREA IN THE 1800s
The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1800 map does not display.

VIEW THE LEICESTER SQUARE AREA IN THE 1830s
The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1830 map does not display.

VIEW THE LEICESTER SQUARE AREA IN THE 1860s
The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1860 map does not display.

VIEW THE LEICESTER SQUARE AREA IN THE 1900s
The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.

 

Leicester Square

Leicester Square, while indeed a square, is also the name for a tube station.

Leicester Square tube station, on the Northern and Piccadilly lines, is located on Charing Cross Road, a short distance to the east of Leicester Square itself.

On early Tube plans, the station was listed as Cranbourn Street, but the present name was used when the station was first opened by the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway on 15 December 1906. Offices above the red terracotta station building on the east side of Charing Cross Road - designed by Leslie Green - was in its early years also occupied by the publishers of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack and an image of cricket stumps appears above a doorway. On all four platforms, film sprockets are painted down the entire length and on the top and bottom of the display area (blue on the Piccadilly line platforms, and black on the Northern line platforms), due to the four premiere cinemas in Leicester Square. The station is featured briefly during the introductory video sequence of the sixth Harry Potter film.
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Maps


Cruchley's New Plan of London (1848) FREE DOWNLOAD
Cruchley's New Plan of London Shewing all the new and intended improvements to the Present Time. - Cruchley's Superior Map of London, with references to upwards of 500 Streets, Squares, Public Places & C. improved to 1848: with a compendium of all Place of Public Amusements also shewing the Railways & Stations.
G. F. Cruchley

Cary's New And Accurate Plan of London and Westminster (1818) FREE DOWNLOAD
Cary's map provides a detailed view of London. With print date of 1 January 1818, Cary's map has 27 panels arranged in 3 rows of 9 panels, each measuring approximately 6 1/2 by 10 5/8 inches. The complete map measures 32 1/8 by 59 1/2 inches. Digitising this map has involved aligning the panels into one contiguous map.
John Cary

John Rocque Map of London (1762) FREE DOWNLOAD
John Rocque (c. 1709–1762) was a surveyor, cartographer, engraver, map-seller and the son of Huguenot émigrés. Roque is now mainly remembered for his maps of London. This map dates from the second edition produced in 1762. London and his other maps brought him an appointment as cartographer to the Prince of Wales in 1751. His widow continued the business after his death. The map covers central London at a reduced level of detail compared with his 1745-6 map.
John Rocque, The Strand, London

Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1843) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured.
Chapman and Hall, London

Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1836) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured. Insets: A view of the Tower from London Bridge -- A view of London from Copenhagen Fields. Includes views of facades of 25 structures "A comparison of the principal buildings of London."
Chapman and Hall, London

Environs of London (1832) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured. Relief shown by hachures. A circle shows "Extent of the twopenny post delivery."
Chapman and Hall, London

London Underground Map (1921).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1921.
London Transport

The Environs of London (1865).  FREE DOWNLOAD
Prime meridian replaced with "Miles from the General Post Office." Relief shown by hachures. Map printed in black and white.
Published By J. H. Colton. No. 172 William St. New York

London Underground Map (1908).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1908.
London Transport

Ordnance Survey of the London region (1939) FREE DOWNLOAD
Ordnance Survey colour map of the environs of London 1:10,560 scale
Ordnance Survey. Crown Copyright 1939.

Outer London (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Outer London shown in red, City of London in yellow. Relief shown by hachures.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)
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