Wyld’s Great Globe

Place of Interest in/near Leicester Square, existed between 1851 and 1862

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MAPPING YEAR:1750180018301860190019302017Fullscreen map
Place of Interest · Leicester Square · WC2H · Contributed by The Underground Map
MARCH
21
2017
Sectional view of Wyld’s Great Globe, which stood in Leicester Square, London 1851–62
Credit: Illustrated London News

Wyld’s Great Globe was an attraction situated in Leicester Square between 1851 and 1862.

It was constructed by James Wyld (1812–1887), a distinguished mapmaker and former Member of Parliament for Bodmin.

At the centre of a purpose-built hall was a giant globe, 60 feet 4 inches in diameter. The globe was hollow and contained a staircase and elevated platforms which members of the public could climb in order to view the surface of the earth on its interior surface, which was modelled in plaster of Paris, complete with mountain ranges and rivers all to scale. Punch described the attraction as "a geographical globule which the mind can take in at one swallow." In the surrounding galleries were displays of Wyld’s maps, globes and surveying equipment.

Wyld originally proposed that the globe should be constructed at the Great Exhibition, but its size and Wyld’s desire to run it as a promotional venture precluded it from being featured inside the Crystal Palace, so Wyld negotiated with the owners of the gardens of Leicester Square, and after much wrangling secured an agreement to site it there for ten years. The exhibition hall and model of the Earth were hastily constructed to coincide with the Great Exhibition.

In its first year the Great Globe was a resounding success, with visitor numbers second only to those of the Great Exhibition, but from 1852 onwards public interest in the attraction slowly waned. Though the novelty of a concave globe continued to win accolades for Wyld, he was faced with competition from other educational attractions, and had to adapt the entertainments on offer in order to maintain visitor numbers. Wyld held topical exhibitions and gave lectures on current events, and attempted to transfer ownership of the attraction to the "Cosmos Institute" to establish a national geographic and ethnological museum. In 1862, when Wyld’s agreement for the use of the land expired, the exhibition hall was removed and the globe broken up and sold for scrap. The complicated ownership of Leicester Square gardens, combined with Wyld’s failure to honour his agreement to restore the gardens after the removal of the exhibition building, led to extensive legal wrangling and questions in Parliament. Wyld finally sold his interests in the gardens, and in 1874 they were donated to the City of London.

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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).
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VIEW THE LEICESTER SQUARE AREA IN THE 1800s
The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
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VIEW THE LEICESTER SQUARE AREA IN THE 1830s
The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
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VIEW THE LEICESTER SQUARE AREA IN THE 1860s
The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
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VIEW THE LEICESTER SQUARE AREA IN THE 1900s
The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.

 

 
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Leicester Square

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.


LOCATIONS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP
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.
Leicester Square:   Leicester Square is a pedestrianised square in the West End of London.
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.
On This Day in London: 2 November:   Ally Pally’s TV role started on 2 November
Piccadilly Circus:   Piccadilly Circus was built in 1819 to connect Regent Street with the major shopping street of Piccadilly. The circus lost its circular form in 1886 with the construction of Shaftesbury Avenue.
Royal Society:   The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine.
Royal Society:   The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine.
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.
St James’s:   St James’s is an exclusive area in the West End of London.


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
Adelaide Street, WC2N · Agar Street, WC2N · Archer Street, W1D · Archway Mall, N19 · Babmaes Street, SW1Y · Bateman Street, W1D · Batemans Buildings, W1D · Bear Street, WC2H · Bedforbury, WC2N · Bedfordbury, WC2N · Bourchier Street, W1D · Brewer Street, W1D · Brydges Place, WC2N · Cambridge Circus, WC2H · Carlisle Street, W1D · Carlisle Walk, E8 · Carlton Gardens, SW1Y · Carlton House Terrace, SW1A · Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y · Carriage Hall, WC2E · Cecil Court, WC2N · Chandos Place, WC2N · Chapone Place, W1D · Charing Cross Mansions, WC2H · Charing Cross Road, WC2H · Charing Cross, SW1A · Charles Ii Street, SW1Y · Ching Court, WC2H · Circus Walk, E15 · Cockspur Street, SW1Y · Coventry Street, SW1Y · Coventry Street, W1D · Coventry Street, W1J · Cranbourn Street, WC2H · Dansey Place, W1D · Dean Street, W1D · Denman Street, W1D · Denmark Place, WC2H · Denmark Street, WC2H · Duck Lane, W1F · Duke Street, SW1Y · Duncannon Street, WC2N · Earlham Street, WC2H · Excel Court, WC2H · Flaxman Court, W1F · Flichcroft Street, WC2H · Flitcroft Street, WC2H · Frith Street, W1D · Garrick Street, WC2E · Gerrard Place, W1D · Gerrard Street, W1D · Goslett Yard, W1D · Goslett Yard, WC2H · Great Newport Street, WC2H · Great Scotland Yard, SW1A · Great Windmill Street, W1D · Greek Court, WC2H · Greek Street, W1D · Greens Court, W1F · Ham Yard, W1D · Haymarket, SW1Y · Hobhouse Court, SW1Y · Hollen Street, W1F · Hop Gardens, WC2N · Hopkins Street, W1F · Horse and Dolphin Yard, W1D · Irving Street, WC2H · Kinnaird House, SW1Y · Langley Street, WC2H · Leicester Place, WC2H · Leicester Square, WC2H · Leicester Street, WC2H · Lisle Street, WC2H · Litchfield Street, WC2H · Little Newport Street, WC2H · London Pavilion, W1J · Lower Regent Street, SW1Y · 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 Street, WC2N · Nottingham Court, 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 · Pall Mall, SW1Y · Panton Street, SW1Y · Peter Street, W1F · Phoenix Street, WC2H · Piccadilly Circus, W1B · Piccadilly, W1J · 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 · Sheraton Street, W1F · Slingsby Place, WC2E · Smiths Court, W1D · Soho Square, W1D · Sounding Alley, E3 · Spring Gardens, SW1A · St Albans Street, SW1Y · St Annes Court, W1F · 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, SW1Y · Street, WC2N · Suffolk Place, SE2 · Suffolk Place, SW1Y · Suffolk Street, SW1Y · The Boardwalk, SE5 · The Gallery, E20 · The London Pavillion, W1J · 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 · Walkers Court, W1F · Wardour Street, W1D · Wardour Street, W1F · 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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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
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London Underground Map (1921).  FREE DOWNLOAD
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The Environs of London (1865).  FREE DOWNLOAD
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Ordnance Survey of the London region (1939) FREE DOWNLOAD
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Outer London (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
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