Orange Street, WC2H

Road in/near Leicester Square, existing between 1696 and now

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Road · Leicester Square · WC2H ·

Orange Street gets its name from William III, Prince of Orange - the reigning king when the street was built.

The western section between Haymarket and St Martin’s Street was formerly called James Street, after James II.

The original Orange Street comprised only that section of the present street which extends from St. Martin’s Street to Charing Cross Road, the sections between Whitcomb Street and St. Martin’s Street, formerly called Blue Cross Street, and between the Haymarket and Whitcomb Street, formerly James Street, having been included in Orange Street in 1905. A brief history of each section is given here:—

James Street was built up at the same time as Panton Street and Oxendon Street. On the wall of the tennis court there was formerly a tablet with the inscription "Iames Street, 1673." The street first appears in the ratebook for 1675. Though no absolute proof is available it seems fairly certain that it was built by Colonel Panton on the southern part of the grounds of Shaver’s Hall, and that the Tennis Court on the south side of the street which survived until 1866 was that built by Simon Osbaldeston, circa 1634.

The site of Orange Street was formerly covered by the Duke of Monmouth’s stables. The street was formed circa 1696, in which year building leases of the ground on either side were granted by Ann, Duchess of Buccleuch, and her son, James, Earl of Dalkeith, to various purchasers.

In 1720 Orange Street was described as "fair" with "good built houses."

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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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