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Featured articlesThrawl Street, E1
Originally built by Henry Thrall (or Thrale) c.1656, Thrawl Street ran east-west from Brick Lane as far as George Street across a former tenter field owned by the Fossan brothers, Thomas and Lewis. Most, if not all, of the properties on the street were timber-built and many were still standing as late as 1736. Little George (later Keate) Street was extended west from the junction of Thrawl and George Streets by the 1740s.
Between 1807-30, rebuilding leases were granted, but none seems to have taken place, although repairs were made albeit poorly done and Thrawl Street, like others in the neighbourhood, continued to deteriorate. It soon became known for its lodging houses and mean tenements and at this time was only joined to Commercial Street by Keate Street and then a narrow alleyway called Keate Court. This part was opened up c.1883 following the demolition of properties in readiness for the later construction of Charlotte De Rothschild Dwellings on the north side and Lolesworth Buildings to the south. Subsequently, Keate Street was renamed as part of Thrawl Street in 1884.
The model dwellings of Thrawl Street and the surrounding area were demolis...
Falcon Court, EC4Y
Falcon Court is a courtyard off the south side of Fleet Street between Chancery Lane and Fetter Lane. There is an ornate wrought iron gate at the entrance to Falcon Court.
If you had lived in the 16th century and been making a visit to the Temple Church then your access would probably have been through Mr Davis’s tailors shop in the Court. In those days all churches, their graveyards and cemeteries were places of sanctuary where law breakers could deposit themselves in full assurance that they were out of reach by the hand of justice. The Temple Church was one of the most popular resorts for such criminals and Mr Davis must have been sick to the high teeth with the constant procession through his premises.
Henry Styrrell, a barrister of the Middle Temple, too was at the end of his tether with the annoyance caused by the disorderly gathering. In 1610 he petitioned the societies of the Inner and Middle Temple to take action and withdraw the right of way through the tailors shop. Three months after the petition Davis was forced to leave and the building ...
Friern Barnet is located at the intersection of Colney Hatch Lane (running north and south), Woodhouse Road (taking westbound traffic towards North Finchley) and Friern Barnet Road (leading east towards New Southgate). Friern Barnet was an ancient parish in the Finsbury division of Ossulstone hundred, in the county of Middlesex.
The area was originally considered to be part of Barnet, most of which was in Hertfordshire. By the 13th century the Middlesex section of Barnet was known as Little Barnet, before becoming Frerenbarnet and then Friern Barnet (sometimes spelt in other ways, such as "Fryern Barnett"). The "Friern" part of the parish’s name derives from the French for "brother" and refers to the medieval lordship of the Brotherhood or Knights of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.
Friern Barnet was mainly rural until the 19th century. The opening of Colney Hatch paupers’ lunatic asylum in 1851, and of railway stations on the Great Northern and Metropolitan Railways, also in the mid-19th century, prompted its development as an outer London suburb. This process was accelerated by the arrival of electric trams in the 1900s.
Local affairs were admi...
Totteridge And Whetstone
Before becoming part of the London Borough of Barnet in 1965, Totteridge was in Hertfordshire and Whetstone in Middlesex. The boundary to the north and east is the Dollis Brook and the boundary to the south is that river’s tributary, the Folly Brook. While these rivers define the parish and the area covered by the residents’ association, the southern part of the area (with postcode N12 rather than N20) is generally regarded as being in Woodside Park.
The main road is the A5109, which runs roughly east-west. The western part is called Totteridge Common, the central part by the village green is called Totteridge Village and the eastern part is called Totteridge Lane; the Lane continues into Whetstone, terminating at its junction with High Road Whetstone. At the western end of Totteridge Common is a set of traffic lights; the road to the north from these lights, Hendon Wood Lane, is just to the west of the western boundary.
Totteridge Village itself has many spacious detached properties in a rural setting that are highly valued - some of the most expensive houses in Lond...
Metropolitan Borough of Westminster
The Metropolitan Borough of Westminster was a metropolitan borough in the County of London from 1900 to 1965. By royal charter dated 29 October 1900 the borough was granted the title City of Westminster. Westminster had originally been created a city and seat of the short-lived Diocese of Westminster in 1541. The diocese was suppressed in 1550, but the area was still known as a "city", although without official sanction.
Previous to the borough’s formation it had been administered by five separate local bodies: the Vestry of St George Hanover Square, the Vestry of St Martin in the Fields, Strand District Board of Works, Westminster District Board of Works and the Vestry of Westminster St James. The Close of the Collegiate Church of St Peter had not been under the control of any local authority prior to 1900.
The borough was formed from eleven civil parishes and extra-parochial places: Close of the Collegiate Church of St Peter, Liberty of the Rolls, Precinct of the Savoy, St Anne Soho, St Clement Danes, St George Hanover Square, St James Piccadilly, St Martin i...
Totteridge is an old English village, and a mixture of suburban development and open land, situated 8 miles north north-west of Charing Cross. This area was called Tataridge in the 13th Century. It may have been named after someone called Tata. The ridge is the high ground between the valleys of the Dollis Brook and Folly Brook.
Over the centuries the rural qualities of Totteridge have attracted well-to-do families. Cardinal Manning was born at Copped Hall in Totteridge in 1808.
With the opening of the Great Northern Railway station in 1872, late-Victorian and Edwardian mansions were built around the old village. In line with overall trends in the late 1930s, following the conversion of the railway station (in operation from 1872 until 1941) into a London Underground station (from 1940) on the Northern line, smaller properties were built within walking distance of the station (Totteridge and Whetstone tube station). In 1968 much of Totteridge was designated a Conservation Area, and no major developments have taken place since then.
Totteridge was a civil parish of Hertfordshire c...
Eagle Court, EC1M
Eagle Court is a courtyard situated off of Benjamin Street. Situated within a stone’s throw of the Grand Priory Church of Order of St John, this forlorn Court lies in a near state of dejection, abandoned by the Order which many years ago raised it to the status of recognition. This site was once occupied by the house of one of the top-ranking officials of the Order of St John – the Bailiff of Egle.
In the year 1312, the Pope issued a decree that the Order of the Knights Templars were to be abolished and that all their assets, buildings and furnishings, were to be given over to their opponents, the Knights Hospitallers, or the Order of St John of Jerusalem. It turns out that only a very small portion of the Templars’ great wealth reached the clutches of the Hospitallers; the lion’s share being retained by Edward II and Philip le Bel, King of France and ali of Pope Clement. Protests by the Hospitallers were at first overruled, merely inspiring loud proclamations from Edward that they were forbidden from meddling with the f...
Goldbeaters already existed by the 14th century. The Goldbeaters estate may have originated in a grant of land and rent by John le Bret to William of Aldenham, goldbeater of London, in 1308. John Goldbeater held a house and some land of the manor of Hendon in 1321.
The Goldbeaters estate was held by John and Eve Clerk in 1434. By the early 18th century it had passed to Joseph Marsh, whose daughter and heir married Thomas Beech of London, the holder of 130 acres in the north of Hendon parish in 1754. After Beech’s death in 1772 some of the property was conveyed to John Raymond and later to Richard Capper.
In 1802 Mary Capper of Bushey (Herts.) and Robert Capper sold the whole of Goldbeaters to William Smith of Mayfair, who bought two closes called Staines and Shoelands, adjoining the farm, from John Nicholl of the Inner Temple in 1803 and a house, later the Bald Faced Stag, and four fields at Redhill from William Geeves in 1807. William Smith bought part of the near-by Shoelands Farm from John Nicholl...
Brent Street, NW4
Brent Street was a section of a main road north out of London. At the Quadrant there is a milestone, the last piece of physical evidence of the old road. A small hamlet grew up during the Tudor period, at the junction of Brent Street and Bell Lane.
Brent Street parish-pump supplied water for much of the area in the early 19th century, and there was also a ’cage’ (1796 - 1883), an outdoor cell for holding for criminals.
There were a few large Victorian mansions such as Tenby Mansion (c. 1845), which is near the Quadrant. By the 1850s there were shops in Brent Street, and a new street called New Brent Street.
The first Hendon police station (c. 1855) was in New Brent Street, as was Hendon British School (1876). Much of the old settlement of Brent Street burned down in a catastrophic fire in 1861.
The police station moved to Brent Street in 1884, and was demolished 2002. Hendon British School moved to become Bell Lane School in 1901.
The cricketer Denis Compton was brough...
Long Lane, N3
Long Lane runs from Church End to East Finchley. Long Lane, known as such by 1719, may have been called Ferrours Lane in medieval times. Roughly half way along its route is Squires Lane, which runs from the manor house to the High Road, the traditional division between East Finchley and Church End.
Behind the large houses which fronted Ballards Lane on the west, Squires Lane, and Long Lane was Claigmar Vineyards, started in 1874 by Peter Edmund Kay. By the 1890s the vinery’s 161 greenhouses were producing "100 tons each of grapes and tomatoes and 240,000 cucumbers a year".
In 1903 Finchley Electric Light Co. opened a generating station on the Kay’s site which was purchased by Finchley Council two years later and then in 1955 by the Eastern Electricity Board. Sir Charles Redvers-Westlake, who was engineer at the works between 1935 - 1948, was later responsible for the building what was then called the Owen Falls dam, Uganda.
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Finchley is an important area of north London. Finchley is on high ground, 11 km (6.8 mi) north of Charing Cross. It formed an ancient parish in the county of Middlesex, becoming a municipal borough in 1933, and has been part of Greater London since 1965.
It is predominantly a residential suburb, with three town centres: North Finchley, East Finchley and Finchley Church End (Finchley Central).
Finchley probably means "Finch’s clearing" or "finches’ clearing" in late Anglo-Saxon; the name was first recorded in the early 13th century. It is not recorded in Domesday Book, but by the 11th century its lands were held by the Bishop of London. In the early medieval period the area was sparsely populated woodland, whose inhabitants supplied pigs and fuel to London.
Extensive cultivation began about the time of the Norman Conquest. By the 15th and 16th centuries the woods on the eastern side of the parish had been cleared to form Finchley Common. The medieval Great North Road, which ran thro...
Laleham is a village beside the River Thames, immediately downriver from Staines-upon-Thames in the Spelthorne borough of Surrey. Until 1965 the village was in Middlesex. The name Laleham" probably derives from lael meaning ’twig’ and ’ham’ meaning homestead.
Iron Age spearheads from the 5th century have been found in the River Thames at Laleham Ferry. The Middlesex section of the Domesday Book of 1086 records the village as Leleham. The manor was held partly by Fécamp Abbey from Robert of Mortain and partly by Estrild, a nun. The manor of Laleham was later held by Westminster Abbey. In the 13th century Westminster Abbey had a grange and watermill on the banks of the Thames near the site of Laleham Abbey.
The Church of England parish church of All Saints dates from the 12th century but was largely rebuilt in brick about 1600 and the present tower was built in 1780.
Today, Laleham has a Church of England primary school, an archery club and Burway Rowing Club.
The poet Matthew Arnold (1822–88) lived here, dividing his time between Laleham and Rugby School.
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Saffron Hill, EC1N
Saffron Hill’s name derives the time that it was part of an estate on which saffron grew. Saffron Hill formed part of the liberty of Saffron Hill, Hatton Garden, Ely Rents and Ely Place which became part of the County of London in 1889. It was abolished in 1900 and formed part of the Metropolitan Borough of Holborn until 1965.
In 1850 it was described as a squalid neighbourhood, the home of paupers and thieves. In Charles Dickens’s 1837 novel Oliver Twist (Chapter 8), the Artful Dodger leads Oliver to Fagin’s den in Field Lane, the southern extension of Saffron Hill: "a dirty and more wretched place he (Oliver) had never seen. The street was very narrow and muddy, and the air was impregnated with filthy odours".
Saffron Hill is mentioned in the Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Six Napoleons", as the Italian Quarter where the Venucci family can be found.
Saffron Hill has become more residential in recent years with the building of several blocks of ’luxury’ apartments, including Da Vinci Hous...
Devereux Court, WC2R
Devereux Court lies on the south side of the Strand, opposite the Law Courts. One of the earliest buildings ever to occupy this site was Exeter House, built by Bishop Stapledon in the early 1320s as the London residence of the Bishop’s of Exeter. Unfortunately Stapledon happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and in 1326 was set upon by a demonstrating mob, dragged from his horse and relieved of his head by a flying butchers knife.
When Henry VIII decided to split from the Church of Rome this house became the property of the Crown and was leased to William Paget who promptly renamed it Paget House. Then came Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex and bosom pal of Elizabeth I. Learning that Paget House was up for grabs he visited the Queen to test the ground, and finding her in a receptive mood - Elizabeth was not the most predictable of characters - he laid before her his longing to live in the suburbs of the Temple. What an element of surprise came to his face when the Queen granted him a life long tenancy - but it was only play-acting, D...
Lansdowne Crescent, W11
Lansdowne Crescent has some of the most interesting and varied houses on the Ladbroke estate, as architects and builders experimented with different styles. When James Weller Ladbroke decided in the early 1820s to develop for housing the 170-acres of mostly farmland that he had developed from his uncle, he commissioned the architect/surveyor Thomas Allason (1790-1852) to draw up a plan in which a circular road, more than 500 metres in diameter, was intersected by an axial road on the alignment of the future Ladbroke Grove. In 1825 a short-lived building boom began along Holland Park Avenue. But this quickly collapsed, and the area of the circular road was from 1837 to 1841 occupied by the Hippodrome race- and steeplechase course. That also lost money, and after it closed there began a series of longer-lived building developments, a key part of which was an evolving layout of terraces, crescents and the large Ladbroke Square, each built with a paddock or communal garden. The new layout departed considerably from Allason’s original layout, but it did retain at least some of the crescent forms (including Lansdowne Crescent) near to St John...
St. Mark’s Road, W11
St. Mark’s Road is a street in the Ladbroke conservation area. St Mark’s Road was one of the last parts of the Ladbroke estate to be developed – on the 1863 Ordnance Survey map the street is shown as no more than an outline.
A terrace of five houses, Nos. 1-9, was erected shortly thereafter on the western side – the developer, Charles Blake, gave leases to a builder called Philip Baker in 1865. They had three storeys plus basement. They were quite severely damaged during the Second World War, and by the 1960s planning documents record that only No. 1, the most southerly house, remained. It was then decided in 1967 to demolish what remained of the terrace and build the present large modern building, as an adult training and day centre for people with learning disabilities. It provides an essential service, but is one of the least attractive buildings in the conservation area and one of the few to be characterised as “negative” in the Conservation Area Appraisal (CAA).
There were never more than two houses on...
Maida Vale, W9
Maida Vale is the name of part of the A5 road running through northwest London. Developed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in the early 19th century as middle class housing, Maida Vale took its name from a public house named after John Stuart, Count of Maida, which opened on the Edgware Road soon after the Battle of Maida, 1806.
The whole area belonged to the bishop of London in 1647, when a Mrs. Wheatley was tenant of a wood and of 44 acres of pasture in 5 closes, which lay between the high road and the Westbourne stream - this was probably the forerunner of Kilburn Bridge Farm.
In 1742, when Richard Marsh was tenant, the farmhouse and its yards stood by the road close to the stream, with c. 39 acres in 6 closes to the south and west.
Farther south Paddington wood and some fields of Manor House farm abutted the road, with fields of Parsonage farm to the west. There were no other buildings then or in 1790. Kilburn Bridge Farm was 40 acres and worth £230 a year in 1795, when it supported rent charges towards the a...
Deans Court, EC4V
Deans Court is directly opposite the south west corner of St Paul’s Cathedral, on the south side of St Paul’s Churchyard. Of the numerous thousands of visitors to St Paul’s Cathedral each year, how many do we suppose take a few steps across St Paul’s Churchyard and venture into the ancient lanes to the south which have remained unchanged since the Cathedral was built? I suspect not more than a handful. In reality, the vast majority will not even be aware of these treasures and, without further ado, hop on to a number eleven bus back to Trafalgar Square or the Houses of Parliament.
St Paul’s is one of the most popular tourist venues in London. It is also most conveniently situated about mid-way on the bus route between the West End and the Tower (number 15), both very tempting haunts to the visitor on a summery day. But the next time you descend the steps of Wren’s wonderful masterpiece, let the buses go by, walk into Dean’s Court and have a look at one of the great architect’s less elaborate pieces. Here, on the west side of the Court, behind a black painted gateway is the old ...
London Greek Orthodox Cathedral - All Saints
All Saints, Camden Town is a Greek Orthodox church known as the Greek Orthodox Church of All Saints. Camden Town was developed from the 1790s onwards in the then largely rural parish of St Pancras, on the northern fringe of London. The parish church was one of the oldest in England, but it had been neglected since the 14th century when most of the inhabitants of the parish had moved to Kentish Town in the northern part of the parish.
In 1822 a new parish church, St Pancras New Church, on Euston Road in the southern part of the parish, was consecrated, but it was intended mainly to serve the population in its immediate vicinity. In 1818 a Church Building Act had been passed by Parliament to facilitate the construction of new churches in London’s many new districts, including this one for Camden Town.
The church was built between 1822 and 1824 and was known as first as the Camden Chapel, then, unofficially, as St Stephen’s. It did not receive the dedication of All Saints until 1920. It was designed by the father and son team of William and Henry Inwood...
Gunner's Cottages (1910)
Gunner’s Cottages, off Salamanca Street, Lambeth 1910. Charles Booth, researching his Poverty Map of London, visited Gunner’s Cottages in 1892-1898:
"Gunner’s Cottages: entered through swing wooden door: dark blue to light blue, [colour guides indicating very poor / poor areas in his map]. Four 2-storey cottages, used to be tenanted by notorious dog-stealer. On his death, 50 dogs were found concealed in the yard.
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