Covent Garden

Underground station, existing between 1907 and now

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Underground station · Covent Garden · WC2E ·
JUNE
29
2013

From fruit and veg to Froo Tan Vetch

Covent Garden station
Credit: Chris Ross
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


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Covent Garden station
Chris Ross

THE STREETS OF COVENT GARDEN
Bedford Chambers, WC2E Bedford Chambers is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Bedford Street, WC2E Bedford Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Bedford Street, WC2R Bedford Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2R postal area.
Betterton Street, WC2H Betterton Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Bow Street, WC2B Bow Street was first developed by Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford in 1633.
Bow Street, WC2E Bow Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Broad Court, WC2B Broad Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Bucknall Street, WC2H Bucknall Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Burleigh Street, WC2E Burleigh Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Carriage Hall, WC2E Carriage Hall is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Catherine Street, WC2E Catherine Street runs from Russell Street in the north to Aldwych in the south.
Central Arcade, WC2E Central Arcade is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Ching Court, WC2H Ching Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Clare Market, WC2E This is a street in the WC2E postcode area
Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E Covent Garden Piazza is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Covent Garden, WC2E Covent Garden, is the name of a district, but also the name of the central square which formerly hosted a fruit-and-vegetable market.
Covent Garden, WC2H Covent Garden is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Dryden Street, WC2E Dryden Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Dudley Court, WC2H Dudley Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Earlham Street, WC2H Earlham Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Endell Street, WC2H Endell Street, originally known as Belton Street, is a street that runs from High Holborn in the north to Long Acre and Bow Street in the south.
Excel Court, WC2H Excel Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Exeter Street, WC2E Exeter Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Floral Street, WC2E Floral Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Garrick Street, WC2E Garrick Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Great Queen Street, WC2B Great Queen Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Hanover Place, WC2E Hanover Place is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Henrietta Street, WC2E Henrietta Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
James Street, WC2E James Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Jubilee Hall Jubilee Market, WC2E Jubilee Hall Jubilee Market is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Jubilee Market Hall Tavistock Court, WC2E Jubilee Market Hall Tavistock Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Jubilee Market, WC2E Jubilee Market is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
King Street, WC2E King Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Langley Court, WC2E Langley Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Langley Street, WC2H Langley Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Litchfield Street, WC2H Litchfield Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Long Acre, WC2E Long Acre is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Macklin Street, WC2B Macklin Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Maiden Lane, WC2E Maiden Lane is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Maple Leaf Walk, SW11 Maple Leaf Walk is a road in the SW11 postcode area
Mercer Street, WC2H Mercer Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Monmouth Street, WC2H Monmouth Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Neal Street, WC2H Neal Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Nottingham Court, WC2H Nottingham Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Odhams Walk, WC2H Odhams Walk is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Parker Mews, WC2B Parker Mews is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Parker Street, WC2B Parker Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
PO Box 1300, EN1 A street within the WC2B postcode
Rose Street, WC2E Rose Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Russell Chambers, WC2E Russell Chambers is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Russell Street, WC2B Russell Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Russell Street, WC2E Russell Street is a road in the WC2E postcode area
Saint Giles High Street, WC2H This is a street in the WC2H postcode area
Seven Dials Court, WC2H Seven Dials Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Shelton Street, WC2B Shelton Street is a road in the WC2B postcode area
Shelton Street, WC2H Shelton Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Shorts Gardens, WC2H Shorts Gardens is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Slingsby Place, WC2E Slingsby Place is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Southampton Street, WC2E Southampton Street - named for Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton and landowner.
Southampton Street, WC2R Southampton Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2R postal area.
Stukeley Street, WC2B Stukeley Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Tavistock Street, WC2E Tavistock Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
The Market Piazza, WC2E The Market Piazza is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
The Market The Piazza, WC2E The Market The Piazza is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
The Market, WC2E The Market is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
The Piazza, WC2E The Piazza is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Thomas Neal Centre, WC2H Thomas Neal Centre is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Thomas Neal’s shopping centre, WC2H Thomas Neal’s shopping centre is a road in the WC2H postcode area
Tower Court, WC2H Tower Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Tower Street, WC2H Tower Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Upper Saint Martin’s Lane, WC2H Upper Saint Martin’s Lane is a road in the WC2H postcode area
Upper St Martin’s Lane, WC2H This is a street in the WC2H postcode area
Upper St Martins Lane, WC2H Upper St Martins Lane is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Wellington Street, WC2E Wellington Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Wellington Terrace, W2 Wellington Terrace is a street in Paddington.
West Street, WC2H West Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Wild Street, WC2B Wild Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.



 

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
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