Leicester Square

Underground station, existing between 1906 and now

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Underground station · Leicester Square · WC2H · Contributed by The Underground Map
September
5
2013
Leicester Square, 1880

Leicester Square is a pedestrianised square in the West End of London.

Leicester Square is named after Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl of Leicester, who purchased four acres in St. Martin's Field in 1630; by 1635, he had built himself a large house, Leicester House, at the northern end. The area in front of the house was then enclosed, depriving inhabitants of St Martin in the Fields parish of their right to use the previously common land. The parishioners appealed to King Charles I, and he appointed three members of the Privy Council to arbitrate. Lord Leicester was ordered to keep part of his land (thereafter known as Leicester Field and later as Leicester Square) open for the parishioners.

The area was developed in the 1670s. It was initially fashionable and Leicester House was once residence of Frederick, Prince of Wales but by the late 18th century, the Square was no longer a smart address and began to serve as a venue for popular entertainments. Leicester House became home of a museum of natural curiosities called the Holophusikon in the 1780s and was demolished about 1791–1792.

In 1848, Leicester Square was the subject of the land-law case of Tulk v. Moxhay. The plot's previous owner had agreed upon a covenant not to erect buildings. However, the law would not allow purchasers who were not 'privy' to the initial contract to be bound by subsequent promises. The judge, Lord Cottenham, decided that future owners could be bound by promises to abstain from activity. Otherwise, a buyer could sell land to himself to undermine an initial promise. Arguments continued about the fate of the garden, with Charles Augustus Tulk's heirs erecting a wooden hoarding around the property in 1873. Finally, in 1874 the flamboyant Albert Grant (1830–1899) purchased the outstanding freeholds and donated the garden to the Metropolitan Board of Works, laying out a garden at his own expense. The title passed to the succeeding public bodies and is now in the ownership of the City of Westminster.

By the 19th century, Leicester Square was known as an entertainment venue, with many amusements peculiar to the era, including Wyld's Great Globe, which was built for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and housed a giant scale map of the Earth. Several hotels grew up around the square, making it popular with visitors to London. The Alhambra, a large theatre built in 1854, dominated the site, to be joined in 1884 by the Empire Theatre of Varieties. The square remains the heart of the West End entertainment district today.

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.

During the 1979 'Winter of Discontent', refuse collectors went on strike. Leicester Square was used as an overflow dump, earning it the nickname of Fester Square.

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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.

 

 
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The Underground Map is a website dedicated to some of the more obscure pieces of London Town (as well as some of the more well-known places).

The Underground Map project is creating a decade-by-decade series of historical maps of the area which lies within London's M25 ring.

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LOCATIONS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP
Charing Cross:   Charing Cross denotes the junction of the Strand, Whitehall and Cockspur Street, just south of Trafalgar Square in central London. It gives its name to several local landmarks, including Charing Cross railway station, one of the main London rail termini.
Covent Garden:   From fruit and veg to Froo Tan Vetch
Garrick Yard:   Garrick Yard, together with the more familiar Garrick Street to the northeast of here, both took their names from the Garrick Club which commemorates the famous 18th century actor, David Garrick.
Northumberland House:   Northumberland House was a large Jacobean townhouse in London, which was the London residence of the Percy family, who were the Dukes of Northumberland.
Soho:   Soho is a world-famous area of the City of Westminster and part of the West End of London.
St Giles:   St Giles is a district of London, at the southern tip of the London Borough of Camden.
Tottenham Court Road:   Tottenham Court Road runs from St Giles' Circus (the junction of Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road) north to Euston Road.
Wyld’s Great Globe:   Wyld’s Great Globe was an attraction situated in Leicester Square between 1851 and 1862.


PHOTOS OF THE AREA
Buses outside the National Gallery:   Buses outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square (1927).


NEARBY STREETS AND BUILDINGS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP
26, SM2 · Adelaide Street, WC2N · Agar Street, WC2N · Archway Mall, N19 · Bateman Street, W1D · Batemans Buildings, W1D · Bear Street, WC2H · Bedforbury, WC2N · Bedford Chambers, WC2E · Bedford Street, WC2E · Bedford Street, WC2R · Bedfordbury, WC2N · Betterton Street, WC2H · Bourchier Street, W1D · Brydges Place, WC2N · Bucknall Street, WC2H · Cambridge Circus, WC2H · Cannon Street, WC2N · Carlisle Street, W1D · Carlton House Terrace, SW1A · Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y · Carriage Hall, WC2E · Cecil Court, WC2N · Centre Point House, WC2H · Chandos Place, WC2N · Chapone Place, W1D · Charing Cross Mansions, WC2H · Charing Cross Road, WC2H · Charing Cross, SW1A · Charles Ii Street, SW1Y · Ching Court, WC2H · Cockspur Street, SW1Y · Covent Garden, WC2H · Coventry Street, SW1Y · Coventry Street, W1D · Cranbourn Street, WC2H · Craven Passage, WC2N · Craven Street, WC2N · Dansey Place, W1D · Dean Street, W1D · Denmark Place, WC2H · Denmark Street, WC2H · Dudley Court, WC2H · Duncannon Street, WC2N · Earlham Street, WC2H · Endell Street, WC2H · Excel Court, WC2H · Falconberg Court, W1D · Flichcroft Street, WC2H · Flitcroft Street, WC2H · Floral Street, WC2E · Frith Street, W1D · Garrick Street, WC2E · George Court, WC2N · Gerrard Place, W1D · Gerrard Street, W1D · Goodwins Court, WC2N · Goslett Yard, W1D · Goslett Yard, WC2H · Grape Street, WC2H · Great Newport Street, WC2H · Greek Court, WC2H · Greek Street, W1D · Haymarket, SW1Y · Henrietta Street, WC2E · Hop Gardens, WC2N · Horse and Dolphin Yard, W1D · Irving Street, WC2H · King Street, WC2E · Kinnaird House, SW1Y · Langley Court, WC2E · Langley Street, WC2H · Leicester Place, WC2H · Leicester Square, WC2H · Leicester Street, WC2H · Lisle Street, WC2H · Litchfield Street, WC2H · Little Newport Street, WC2H · Long Acre, WC2E · Macclesfield Street, W1D · Manette Street, W1D · May’s Court, WC2N · Meard Street, W1F · Mercer Street, WC2H · Monmouth Street, WC2H · Moor Street, W1D · Neal Street, WC2H · Neals Yard, WC2H · New Compton Street, WC2H · New Row, WC2N · New Zealand House, SW1Y · Newport Court, WC2H · Newport Place, WC2H · Norris Street, SW1Y · Northumberland Avenue, SW1A · Northumberland Avenue, WC2N · Northumberland Street, WC2N · Nottingham Court, WC2H · Odhams Walk, WC2H · Old Compton Street, W1D · Old Copton Street, W1D · Orange Street, SW1Y · Orange Street, WC2H · Oxendon Street, SW1Y · Oxendon Street, W1D · Pall Mall East, SW1Y · Panton Street, SW1Y · Phoenix Street, WC2H · Queen Street, EC4R · Richmond Buildings, W1D · Richmond Mews, W1D · Romilly Street, W1D · Rose Street, WC2E · Royal Opera Arcade, SW1Y · Royalty Mews, W1D · Rupert Court, W1D · Rupert Street, W1D · Saint Martin’s Lane, WC2N · Saint Martin’s Court, WC2H · Saint Martin’s Place, WC2N · Seven Dials Court, WC2H · Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D · Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H · Shaftsbury Avenue, W1D · Shelton Street, WC2H · Shorts Gardens, WC2H · Slingsby Place, WC2E · Soho Square, W1D · Soho Street, W1D · Sounding Alley, E3 · Spring Gardens, SW1A · St Albans Street, SW1Y · St Giles High Street, WC2H · St Jamess Chambers, SW1Y · St Jamess Market, SW1Y · St Martins Court, WC2N · St Martins Lane, WC2H · St Martins Lane, WC2N · St Martins Place, WC2H · St Martins Place, WC2N · St Martins Street, WC2H · Stacey Street, WC2H · Street, WC2N · Suffolk Place, SW1Y · Suffolk Street, SW1Y · Sutton Row, W1D · The Arches, WC2N · The Boardwalk, SE5 · The Mall, SW1E · The Mall, SW1Y · The National Gallery, WC2N · The Queens Walk, SE1 · Thomas Neal Centre, WC2H · Thomas Neal’s shopping centre, WC2H · Tisbury Court, W1D · Tower Court, WC2H · Tower Street, WC2H · Townsend House, W1D · Trafalgar Square, SW1Y · Trafalgar Square, WC2N · Upper Saint Martin’s Lane, WC2H · Upper St Martins Lane, WC2H · Villiers Street, WC2N · Wardour Street, W1D · Warwick House Street, SW1Y · Waterloo Place, SW1Y · Wedgewood Mews, W1D · Wedgwood Mews, W1D · West Street, WC2H · Whitcomb Street, WC2H · William Iv Street, WC2N · William Street, WC2N · Winnett Street, W1D ·


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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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