Holles Street, W1C

Holles Street runs north from Oxford Street, on the east side of the John Lewis store.

John Holles, Duke of Newcastle, who bought much of the land of the area. In 1711 that land passed to his daughter Henrietta Cavendish Holles who later married Edward Harley, second Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer. This meant that Henrietta Harley held the titles of Countess of Oxford and Countess Mortimer. As a family they were hardly ‘shrinking violets’ because, if you look at the surrounding land, the name of every family member is perpetrated by the streets and squares nearby.

The street was one of those laid out around 1729 when the area north of Oxford Street was urbanised on a grid pattern.

Once the location of small shops and houses, the street is now almost entirely taken up the John Lewis department store on the western side and the former British Home Stores department store (1962-63) and other commercial units on the east, both of which have their main entrances on Oxford Street. The John Lewis store was started in 1936 but damaged by bombing during the Second World War and rebuilt in 1958-60.

Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture Winged Figure (1963) is on the Holles Street side of the John Lewis department store.

return to article