Aldwych, WC2

Road in Holborn, existing between 1905 and now

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Road · Holborn · WC2B · Contributed by The Underground Map
JANUARY
11
2014
Click to enlarge image.
This map from the Aldwych and Kingsway 1905scheme gives some idea of the scale of the works. The buff area of development covers many of the streets that were demolished.
Credit: London County Council

In the seventh century, an Anglo-Saxon village and trading centre named Lundenwic ('London trading town') was established here approximately one mile to the west of Londinium. Lundenwic probably used the mouth of the River Fleet as a harbour or anchorage for trading ships and fishing boats. It was recorded as Aldewich in 1211 but then the name Aldwych largely disappeared from history for some 800 years.

The Aldwych and Kingsway scheme was the London County Council's first large urban improvement scheme in central London. It was opened in 1905 and signalled the council's vision of London as a modern city of tree-lined boulevards, office blocks and free-flowing traffic.

There had long been calls for a new route for traffic between Holborn and Fleet Street, but it was not until the London County Council came into existence that the scheme took shape. A new road was proposed between Holborn and Fleet Street. The slum properties and crowded alleys at the east end of the Strand would first have to be cleared, which was seen as a further advantage of the scheme.

Although modern in spirit, the scheme respected London's past. The new crescent at the south end was designed around the historic church of St Clement Danes. The Saxon-sounding name given to the new crescent, Aldwych, was chosen as a reminder of London's long history of continuous settlement.

The scheme's large boulevard, running north to Holborn, was named Kingsway in honour of Edward VII. A hundred feet wide, it was London's widest street and thoroughly modern in spirit, not least because a tunnel for electric trams ran beneath it. The building plots on either side of the new boulevard were leased to speculative builders, the intention being that this would become London's new commercial district.

Lundenwic - the original Aldwych - was 'rediscovered' in the 1980s after the results of extensive excavations were reinterpreted as being urban in character. Recent excavations in the Covent Garden area have uncovered an extensive Anglo-Saxon settlement, covering about 600,000-square-metre stretching from the present-day National Gallery site in the west to Aldwych in the east.

Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence

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

 

 
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Go to Covent Garden

Covent Garden

From fruit and veg to Froo Tan Vetch

Covent Garden is a district in London on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St. Martin's Lane and Drury Lane.

It is associated with the former fruit and vegetable market in the central square, now a popular shopping and tourist site, and the Royal Opera House, which is also known as Covent Garden. The district is divided by the main thoroughfare of Long Acre, north of which is given over to independent shops centred on Neal's Yard and Seven Dials, while the south contains the central square with its street performers and most of the elegant buildings, theatres and entertainment facilities, including the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and the London Transport Museum.

Though mainly fields until the 16th century, the area was briefly settled when it became the heart of the Anglo-Saxon trading town of Lundenwic. After the town was abandoned, part of the area was walled off by 1200 for use as arable land and orchards by Westminster Abbey, and was referred to as 'the garden of the Abbey and Convent'. The land, now called the Covent Garden, was seized by Henry VIII, and granted to the Earls of Bedford in 1552. The 4th Earl commissioned Inigo Jones to build some fine houses to attract wealthy tenants. Jones designed the Italianate arcaded square along with the church of St Paul's. The design of the square was new to London, and had a significant influence on modern town planning, acting as the prototype for the laying-out of new estates as London grew.

A small open-air fruit and vegetable market had developed on the south side of the fashionable square by 1654. Gradually, both the market and the surrounding area fell into disrepute, as taverns, theatres, coffee-houses and brothels opened up; the gentry moved away, and rakes, wits and playwrights moved in.

By the 18th century it had become a well-known red-light district, attracting notable prostitutes. An Act of Parliament was drawn up to control the area, and Charles Fowler's neo-classical building was erected in 1830 to cover and help organise the market. The area declined as a pleasure-ground as the market grew and further buildings were added: the Floral Hall, Charter Market, and in 1904 the Jubilee Market. By the end of the 1960s traffic congestion was causing problems, and in 1974 the market relocated to the New Covent Garden Market about three miles (5 km) south-west at Nine Elms. The central building re-opened as a shopping centre in 1980, and is now a tourist location containing cafes, pubs, small shops, and a craft market called the Apple Market, along with another market held in the Jubilee Hall.

Covent Garden tube station is a Grade II listed building and was opened by Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway on 11 April 1907, four months after services on the rest of the line began operating on 15 December 1906.

Like the rest of the original GNP&BR stations, the street level station building and platform tiling was designed by Leslie Green. The station building is a classic red 'Oxblood' building which has two elevations fronting onto the end of James Street and Long Acre. The platform wall was tiled with two shades of yellow and white tiling which formed geometric shapes along with three blank spaces to incorporate the station name. As part of TFL's investment programme, the ageing tiling dating back from the station's opening was replaced in 2010 in a like-for-like basis, retaining the look and feel of the platforms.

Covent Garden station is one of the few stations in Central London for which platform access is only by lift or stairs and often becomes congested due to the Covent Garden area's popularity with tourists. To control congestion on Saturday afternoons, when the surrounding shopping areas are at their busiest, the station was previously exit only to avoid the risk of dangerous overcrowding of the platforms, but following replacement of the lifts, this restriction has been lifted. There are four lifts which give access to street level, although a final flight of stairs from the lifts to the platforms means that the station is wheelchair inaccessible. Alternatively, there is an emergency spiral staircase of 193 steps (The equivalent to a 15 storey building). During the lift journey a recorded announcement is played asking passengers to have their tickets/passes ready as they exit the lifts and advising where to turn for Covent Garden's market.

Image: Chris Ross


LOCATIONS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP
Ackermann’s:   Rudolph Ackermann (20 April 1764 in Stollberg, Saxony – 30 March 1834 in Finchley) was an Anglo-German bookseller, inventor, lithographer, publisher and businessman.
Aldwych:   Aldwych is a closed station on the London Underground; formerly a branch line of the Piccadilly Line.
Courtauld Institute of Art:   The Courtauld Institute of Art is a self-governing college of the University of London specialising in the study of the history of art.
Holborn:   Holborn is both an area and also the name of the area's principal street, known as High Holborn between St. Giles's High Street and Gray's Inn Road and then Holborn Viaduct between Holborn Circus and Newgate Street.
Shipley's Drawing School:   101 The Strand was an art school from 1750 until 1806.
Temple:   Temple is a London Underground station in the City of Westminster, on the Victoria Embankment. It is the nearest tube station for King's College London and the London School of Economics.
Waterloo Bridge:   Waterloo Bridge is a road and foot traffic bridge crossing the River Thames in London, England between Blackfriars Bridge and Hungerford Bridge.


PHOTOS OF THE AREA
Blackmoore Street (1902):   This photo depicts Blackmoor Street which was in the Drury Lane slum, with Clare Court on the left
Houghton Street (1906):   A greengrocer's on the corner of Houghton Street and Clare Market (behind The Strand) in 1906 just before demolition.
New Inn Passage (1901):   The corner of Houghton Street and New Inn Passage taken on a 1901 photo just prior to the clearence of the area for the Aldwych-Kingsway improvement scheme.
Strand (1890s):   The Strand in the 1890s
Wild Street (1902):   Wild Street, in the Covent Garden area, was on the edge of the Kingsway improvements which would utterly transform the area in the following years.
Wych Street:   Wych Street was a street in London, roughly where Australia House now stands on Aldwych. It ran west from the church of St Clement Danes on the Strand to a point towards the southern end of Drury Lane.


NEARBY STREETS AND BUILDINGS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP
Adelphi Terrace, WC2N · Africa House, WC2B · Arundel Street, WC2R · Atkin Building, WC1R · Australia House, WC2B · Beaumont Buildings, WC2B · Bedford Row, WC1R · Bell Yard, WC2A · Bow St Covent Garden, WC2E · Bow Street, WC2B · Bull Inn Court, WC2R · Burleigh Street, WC2E · Carey Street, WC2A · Catherine Street, WC2B · Catton Street, WC1R · Clare Market, WC2A · Clements Inn, WC2A · Coptic Street, WC1A · Crown Court, WC2B · Dane Street, WC1R · Devereux Court, WC2R · Drury Lane, WC2B · Eagle Street, WC1R · Essex Street, WC2R · Exchange Court, WC2R · Exeter Street, WC2E · Field Court, WC1R · Fisher Street, WC1R · Fountain Court, EC4Y · Fulwood Place, WC1V · Garden Court, EC4Y · Gate Street, WC2A · Grays Inn Place, WC1R · Grays Inn Square Chambers, WC1R · Grays Inn Square, WC1R · Great Queen Street, WC2B · Hand Court, WC1V · Hardwicke Building, WC2A · High Holborn, WC1V · High Street, WD1 · Holborn, WC1V · Houghton Street, WC2A · Jockeys Fields, WC1R · Jubilee Market Hall Tavistock Court, WC2E · Kean Street, WC2B · Kingsway, WC2B · Lancaster Place, WC2E · Lincolns Inn Fields, WC2A · Lion Court, WC1V · Little Essex Street, WC2R · Little Turnstile, WC1V · London Silver Vaults, WC2A · Maltravers Street, WC2R · Milford Lane, WC2R · Museum Street, WC1A · New Oxford Street, WC1A · New Square, WC2A · Newton Street, WC2B · North East Wing Bush House, WC2B · North West Wing Bush House, WC2B · Old Buildings, WC2A · Old Square, WC2A · Parker Street, WC2B · Portsmouth Street, WC2A · Portugal Street, WC2A · Princeton Street, WC1R · Procter Street, WC1V · Proctor Street, WC1V · Raymond Buildings, WC1R · Red Lion Square, WC1R · Red Lion Street, WC1R · Russell Street, WC2B · Sandland Street, WC1R · Sardinia House, WC2A · Sardinia Street, WC2A · Savoy Court, WC2R · Savoy Hill, WC2R · Savoy Place, WC2N · Savoy Place, WC2R · Savoy Street, WC2E · Savoy Street, WC2R · Sheffield Street, WC2A · Sicilian Avenue, WC1A · Silver Vaults, WC2A · South East Wing Bush House, WC2B · South Square, WC1R · Southampton Place, WC1A · St Clements Lane, WC2A · St Giles House, WC2B · Star Yard, WC2A · Stedham Place, WC1A · Stone Buildings, WC2A · Strand, WC2A · Strand, WC2B · Strand, WC2N · Strand, WC2R · Surrey Street, WC2R · Tavistock Street, WC2E · Temple Pier, WC2R · Temple Place, WC2R · The Arcade, WC2B · The Australia Centre, WC2B · The Strand, WC2N · The Strand, WC2R · Verulam Buildings, WC1R · Victoria Embankment, WC2R · Victoria House, WC1A · Warwick Court, WC1R · Wellington Street, WC2E · Wellington Terrace, W2 · West Central Street, WC1A · Wild Court, WC2B · Wild Street, WC2B · Yorkshire Grey Yard, WC1R ·


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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.
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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.
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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.
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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."
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Environs of London (1832) FREE DOWNLOAD
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London Underground Map (1921).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1921.
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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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