Cockspur Street, SW1Y

Road in/near St. James's Park, existing between 1572 and now

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Road · St. James's Park · SW1Y ·
September
22
2010

Cockspur Street is possibly after the cock fighting that formerly occurred here, cocks often having spurs attached to their feet during fights.

A map of 1572 shows the street in existence.

In 1746, John Roque’s detailed map of London and ten miles around shows Cockspur Street and two very narrow passages connecting which were later variously abolished and widened.

After Regent Street was built heading north, Pall Mall was extended directly east. This enabled the present one-way flow around the triangle facing the north side of Cockspur Street. All the small-plot properties between Cockspur Street and the newly-formed Pall Mall East were pulled down leaving a triangular site which was taken by the College of Physicians and the Union Club. Today that side numbers 1-5 set out below.

Number 1, Oceanic House, was originally the London office of the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company trading as the White Star Line, which operated famous liners including the RMS Titanic. Oceanic House is inscribed twice on the building and it forms part of Canada House.

Undivided from this are numbers 2-4 the Serious Fraud Office and number 5 Trafalgar Square whose numbering, widely used for official purposes as opposed to no number, comes from Cockspur Street — this is the headline part of Canada House, the Canadian High Commission.

Numbers 6 to 13 are no longer used having made way for new wider street layouts.

Also proceeding east but across the street are at street level, comprehensively: the Embassy of Brazil at number 14, a sightseeing/theatre tickets centre, gift shop, a large Thai restaurant, thin residential building, and another restaurant — numbers 21-24. Before the end of the road is a second very broad neo-classical building marked in detailed maps with the highest numbers 25-28 — these numbers have merged into a large hotel opening onto Trafalgar Square. The entrance has flags for The Trafalgar Dining Rooms and The Rooftop restaurant. It bears address 2 Spring Gardens. Number 27 within the hotel site housed the British Coffee House (1722-1800s). In some of its final decades it was known, with the adjacent No. 26, Cockspur Street, as The British Hotel which demolished in 1886–7 to be replaced later by the current hotel.


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St. James's Park

St James's Park station is not only a station but London Underground HQ - otherwise known as 55 Broadway.

The station was opened on 24 December 1868 by the Metropolitan District Railway (MDR, now the District Line) when the company opened the first section of its line between South Kensington and Westminster stations. The MDR connected to the Metropolitan Railway (MR, later the Metropolitan Line) at South Kensington and, although the two companies were rivals, each company operated its trains over the other's tracks in a joint service known as the Inner Circle.

The station has been reconstructed twice. In the first decade of the 20th century the original MDR station was reconstructed in conjunction with the building of Electric Railway House a headquarters building for the MDR's owners the London Electric Railway. The station was then rebuilt again between 1927 and 1929 as part of the construction of 55 Broadway the company's new headquarters building designed by Charles Holden and featuring statues and carved stone panels including ones by Sir Jacob Epstein, Eric Gill, and Henry Moore.

The platforms feature the green, blue, black and white tiling scheme first used for the reconstruction and extension to Morden of the City & South London Railway (now the Northern Line) also designed by Holden and opened between 1924 and 1926.

Together with 55 Broadway, the station is now a Grade I listed building.

Over time, the station name has been spelled differently, illustrating changing practice in punctuation. Tube maps up to the early 1930s show the name as St. James' Park. From Harry Beck's first map in 1933 until the early 1950s the name was shown as St. James Park. Since the 1950s it has had the current name.
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