Hungerford Stairs

Neighbourhood in/near Charing Cross, existed between 1680 and 1862

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The Hungerford Stairs were the entrance point to Hungerford Market from the River Thames. They are now the site of Charing Cross railway Station.

Hungerford Stairs circa 1828
Hungerford Market occupied a strip 126 feet wide, extending 465 feet northward towards the Strand. The market had been built in 1680 and rebuilt in 1831 and was named after the Hungerford family of Farleigh Castle, near Bath in Somerset.

The site had become the property of the Hungerford family in 1425, when it was acquired from Sir Robert Chalons and his wife Blanche by Sir Walter Hungerford (later Baron Hungerford), Speaker of the House of Commons and Steward of the Household of King Henry V. It finally passed down the family to Sir Edward Hungerford (1632–1711), created a Knight of the Order of the Bath at the coronation of Charles II.

Before its rebuilding, Hungerford Market was called "a disgrace to the metropolis" (Mogg’s New Picture of London and Visitor’s Guide to it Sights, 1844). Mogg further says: "The present elegant and convenient structure was erected from designs by Mr. Fowler in 1831 and 1833."

The market consisted of three divisions. The upper one formed a quadrangle, flanked by colonnades with dwellings and shops. The centre - a great hall - was formed of four rows of granite columns, with arches springing from them to support the roof. Hungerford Market specialised in food: meat, poultry, fruit, vegetables, butter and eggs.

By 1830 the replacement of Old London Bridge meant that fishing boats could then come further upstream to deliver their catch. So the owners of the market hoped to break the monopoly of Billingsgate Market by providing a more convenient supply of fish for the West End. Hence a lower quadrangle was accessible by a spacious flight of steps and contained a fish-market.

Down another set of steps - Hungerford Stairs - was a wharf, about 200 feet long with steps down to the water, where landings could be made. The formation of floating piers at the quay facilitated the arrival and departure of numerous steam boats that left during the summer months every quarter of an hour, for the City, Westminster, and Vauxhall, and at other times for Greenwich and Woolwich.

When the site of the market was sold to the South Eastern Railway, the railway company demolished both it and the stairs, building Charing Cross railway station over the top.


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Hungerford Stairs circa 1828
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LDNnews
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Post by LDNnews: Aldwych
Abingdon Street has linked Old Palace Yard and Millbank since at least 1593.
Abingdon Street has linked Old Palace Yard and Millbank since at least 1593.

https://www.theundergroundmap.com/article.html?id=10528

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

 

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.

Charing Cross is named after the now demolished Eleanor cross that stood there, in what was once the hamlet of Charing. It was where King Edward I placed a memorial to his wife, Eleanor of Castile.

It was one of twelve places where Eleanor's coffin rested overnight during the funeral procession from Lincolnshire to her final resting-place at Westminster. At each of these, Edward erected an Eleanor cross, of which only three now remain.

The original site of the cross has been occupied since 1675 by an equestrian statue of King Charles I. A Victorian replacement, in different style from the original, was later erected a short distance to the east outside the railway station.

Formerly, until 1931, Charing Cross also referred to the part of what is now Whitehall lying between Great Scotland Yard and Trafalgar Square. At least one property retains a Charing Cross postal address: Drummonds Bank, on the corner of Whitehall and The Mall, which is designated 49 Charing Cross (not to be confused with the separate Charing Cross Road).

Since the second half of the 18th century, Charing Cross has been seen by some as the exact centre of London, being the main point used for measuring distances from London.

The railway station opened in 1864, fronted on the Strand with the Charing Cross Hotel. The original station building was built on the site of the Hungerford Market by the South Eastern Railway, designed by Sir John Hawkshaw, with a single span wrought iron roof arching over the six platforms on its relatively cramped site.

Charing Cross tube station has entrances located in Trafalgar Square and The Strand. The station is served by the Northern and Bakerloo lines, originally separate tube stations called Strand and Trafalgar Square, and provides an interchange with the National Rail network. The station was served by the Jubilee Line between 1979 and 1999, acting as the southern terminus of the line during that period.

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