The Underground Map

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Website · Leicester Square · NW6 · Contributed by Scott Hatton

The Underground Map is a project which is creating a history website for the areas of London and surrounding counties lying inside the M25.

Latest on The Underground Map...
There are now over 23 000 articles on all variety of locations including amongst others, roads, houses, schools, pubs and palaces.

You can begin exploring by choosing a place from the dropdown list at the top left and then clicking Reset Location.

As maps are displayed, click on the markers to view location articles.

You can also view historical maps of London - use the Google Map control to change to a particular decade.The Underground Map project is creating a decade-by-decade series of historical maps of the area which lies within London's M25 ring.

From the 1800s until the 1950s, you can see how London grew from a city which only reached as far as Park Lane into the post war megapolis we know today.

Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence


Featured articles



Cecil Court, WC2H
Cecil Court is a pedestrian street with Victorian shop-frontages.
It links Charing Cross Road and St Martin’s Lane. The street is still owned by the Cecil family who first built it. The buildings there today were built around 1894 during the tenure of another Cecil - Prime Minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury.

Cecil Court was laid out in the late seventeenth-century on open land between St Martin’s Lane and Leicester Square. Early maps identify a hedgerow running down the street’s course.

Landowner Robert Cecil had been created first Earl of Salisbury by James I after he smoothed over the transition from the house of Tudor to that of the Stuarts. The land on which Cecil Court now stands was purchased in 1609. It had previously been St Martin’s Field. Cecil Court was built on a five acre tract formerly known as Beaumont’s lands, probably in the 1670s.

A substantial part of Cecil Court burned down in 1735. This was almost certainly arson by a Mrs Collowa...



Beeston Place, SW1W
Beeston Place was formerly part of the Grosvenor family estate and the family owned land in Beeston, Cheshire. The first name of the street was Ranelagh Street which itself was renamed as Ebury Street before the northern part began to go under the separate name of Beeston Place.

The oldest roads in the area were what are now Lower Grosvenor Place, Hobart Place, Ebury Street, Beeston Place and Buckingham Palace Road, all of which were established by the mid 18th century, and may be before this. The Rocque map shows a path where Beeston Place would run.

The 1792 Horwood map delineates the line of King’s Row (Buckingham Palace Road). It also shows that Ranelagh Street had been developed, and this street provides the axis by which today’s Grosvenor Gardens were formed. Ranelagh Street, Arabella Row, Belgrave Place and Eaton Street surrounded a block, which was subdivided by Eaton Lane North. Towards the end of the 18th century, the distinctive triangular shape of the northern block of Grosvenor Gardens was emerging.

Thomas Cundy was both the archi...



Ayres Street, SE1
Ayres Street was formerly known as Whitecross Street. Ayres Street changed name in tribute to Alice Ayres - also immortalised in Postman’s Park in the City. Ayres lost her life whilst saving three children from a fire in Union Street in 1885.

John Strype mentions Whitecross Street in his 1720 ’Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster’. He called it "a pretty clean Street, but ordinary Built and Inhabited." It is unknown how long before 1710 that the street was built.

The White Cross Cottages were built in 1890 by social reformer Octavia Hill and designed by Elijah Hoole, as model social housing. They include a hall with interior decoration by Walter Crane.

The dense grain of local small buildings was in part eroded after the Second World War. As redevelopment occurred, larger blocks, occupied by single uses, replaced the Georgian and Victorian houses, shops and warehouses. This is particularly evident in the area between Ayres Street and Southwark Bridge Road.
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Mavelstone Road, BR1
Mavelstone Road dates from early in the Edwardian period. Mavelstone Road is an unadopted road - the London Borough of Bromley is not responsible for the road’s maintenance. As a result, Mavelstone Road has retained an high proportion of its original large early 20th century residences. Its character has led it to be designated a Conservation Area by the borough.

’Stotfold’, built in 1908-9, is a grade II listed building and is also on the statutory list of buildings of architectural or historic interest.

Both Mavelstone Close and Mount Close were developed in the middle 1950s off of Mavelstone Road. Park Farm Road, which adjoins Mavelstone Road, is also unadopted and also has some fine examples of Arts and Crafts residential architecture.
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Goodman’s Fields
Goodman’s Fields was a farm beyond the walls of the City. A House of Minoresses - the Abbey of St Clare was established in Aldgate in 1293. The convent ran a farm in the area and the the first recorded tenant was a Mr Trollope, who sold it to Roland Goodman, a wealthy London fishmonger and farmer.

After the Dissolution, the farm became known as Goodman’s Fields. It kept some 30 to 40 head of cattle and was still flourishing in 1601 when the historian John Stowe visited.

An heir of the original Goodman let the field to a variety of small tenants, first as grazing for horses, then for garden-plots and smallholdings, and is said to have lived ‘like a gentleman’ on the proceeds. By 1678, the land was beginning to to be sold off for the construction of housing.

The open ground was bought by Sir John Leman, Lord Mayor of London. His great-nephew William Leman laid out four streets, named after relatives - Mansell Street, Prescot Street, Ayliff Street (Alie Street) and Leman Street. John Strype in...



Goodman’s Yard, E1
Goodman’s Yard is a street between Minories and Mansell Street. There was a glasshouse here before 1641, owned by Sir Bevis Thelwell. This bottles, white and green glasses. In 1661 it provided glassware for the newly-founded Royal Society.

The glasshouse became Jesse Russell’s soap and tallow factory.

There was an early Baptist chapel in Goodman’s Yard, noted in 1682.

In 1710 a ’loyal society’ (a precursor of modern day insurance companies) based at the "Red-Lyon near Goodman’s Yard" published proposals for insurance on the birth of children, and on marriage.

Pigot’s 1824 Metropolitan Guide states that there was an ’Irish Free School’ in Goodman’s Yard, and a report a few years later states that the East London Irish School had 140 male and 120 female pupils, and was partly supported by subscriptions and partly by payments from the children.

Railway viaducts completely changed the scene. A lattice bridge over Prescott Street and Goodman’s Yard, carried ...



Leman Street, E1
Leman Street was named after Sir John Leman. The street was once officially called Red Lion Street but Leman Street was in use concurrently and pronounced like ’lemon’ locally. ’Leman’ was an old term for a mistress or lover. In 1831 the Garrick Theatre but was demolished in 1891 and the police station rebuilt on the site. There was a local German community which supported a ’Christian Home for German Artisans’ (later a German YMCA) and also a private German hotel.

The Eastern Dispensary was set up in Great Alie Street in 1782 by a group of doctors. This moved to new premises in Leman Street in 1858 but closed its doors finally in 1940.

In 1887 the Co-operative Wholesale Society opened the headquarters of its London operations on the corner of Leman Street and Hooper Street. This was a seven-storey structure in brick, granite and Portland stone incorporating a sugar warehouse and a prominent clock tower.

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Prescot Street, E1
Prescot Street was named for Rebecca Prescott, wife of William Leman. Prescot Street was originally Great Prescott Street and ran along the south of Goodman’s Fields.

The road was developed for good-quality housing and it became one of the earliest London streets to have numbered buildings (rather than signs). An early resident, before he moved to Soho Square, was the ’rough old admiral’ Sir Cloudesley Shovel.

From the late nineteenth century there was a synagogue in the street, and between 1857 and 1880 the Jewish Widows’ Home Asylum. In the early twentieth century the Association for the Protection of Women and Girls ran a refuge for young girls arriving in London who were deemed at risk from pimps and procurers.

Little Prescot Street was the continuation of Mansell Street, running from the western end of Great Prescot Street to Royal Mint Street; its original name was Rosemary Branch Alley.
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Alie Street, E1
Originally called Ayliff Street, Alie Street was named after a relative of William Leman, whose great-uncle, John Leman had bought Goodman’s Fields. Alie Street along with Leman Street, Prescot Street and Mansell Street from the turn of the eighteenth century while Goodman’s Fields was used as a tenterground.

In the 1800s this section of Alie Street was also known as Great Alie Street, with the extension which went east from Leman Street to Commercial Road being known as Little Alie Street.

Alie Street now links Mansell Street with Commercial Road.
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Whitehall, SW1A
Whitehall is recognised as the centre of the government of the United Kingdom. The name ’Whitehall’ was used for several buildings in the Tudor period - referring to their colour, consisting of light stone. This included the Royal Palace of Whitehall, which gave its name to the street.

The Palace of Whitehall was the residence of Kings Henry VIII through to William III before its destruction by fire in 1698. Whitehall was originally the road that led to the front of the palace. It was widened in the 18th century following the destruction of the palace.

It became a popular place to live by the 17th century. Oliver Cromwell had moved to Wallingford House in the street in 1647. Two years later, Charles I was carried through Whitehall on the way to his trial at Westminster Hall. Whitehall had sufficient space for a scaffold to be erected for the King’s execution in 1649. Cromwell in turn died at the Palace of Whitehall in 1658.

By the 18th century, traffic struggled along the narrow streets south of Holbein Gate. Th...



Westminster - heart of government. While the underground station dates from 1868, Westminster itself is almost as old as London itself. It has a large concentration of London’s historic and prestigious landmarks and visitor attractions, including the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral.

Historically part of the parish of St Margaret in the City and Liberty of Westminster and the county of Middlesex, the name Westminster was the ancient description for the area around Westminster Abbey – the West Minster, or monastery church, that gave the area its name – which has been the seat of the government of England (and later the British government) for almost a thousand years.

Westminster is the location of the Palace of Westminster, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which houses the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

The area has been the seat of the government of England for almost a thousand years. Westminster is thus ...



Spring Gardens, SW1A
Spring Gardens derives its name from the Spring Garden, formed in the 16th century as an addition to the pleasure grounds of Whitehall Palace. The word ’Spring’ in this sense meant a plantation of young trees, especially one used for rearing game. The Spring Garden was shown on the Agas map as a little copse enclosed with a fence, and there are later references to pheasants and other "wild fowl" being preserved there.

In 1580 the garden was extended with a bowling green, a birdhouse, a bathing pool and the planting of orange trees. Before the end of James I’s reign, the garden had become a semi-public pleasure ground.

In 1631 a Simon Osbaldeston was appointed to keep "the Springe Garden and of the Bowling Greene there."

There was at least one house in Spring Garden as early as 1635 and more house building occurred over the next forty years. Towards the close of the 17th century, part of the Spring Garden had become a refuge for debtors. One of the most notorious was Sir Edward Hungerford and the Board of Greencloth finally to allow creditors to serve processes on...



Fentiman Road, SW8
Fentiman Road is named after local mid-19th century developer John Fentiman. Fentiman Road is a broad, attractive road aligned northwest to southeast and has a leafy residential character.

On the north side, Vauxhall Park has a long frontage enclosed by railings and lends a leafy character to this end. Along from the park gate are the red brick, Tudor-revival Noel Caron Almshouses (1854) which have been established locally since the 17th century. Next to these are a row of 1830s stucco villas.

The south side of Fentiman Road is characterised by late 19th century terraced housing in two distinct groups.

Forming an attractive landmark at the junction with Meadow Road is the Cavalry Church, red brick in the Perpendicular style.
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