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.