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Featured · Greenwich ·
MAY
8
2021

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

In a series of maps from the 1750s 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. There are now over 85 000 articles on all variety of locations including 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 - click on the "pile of paper" control on the top right of a page's map to change to a particular decade.

Latest on The Underground Map...
Greenwich
Greenwich is a town, now part of the south eastern urban sprawl of London, on the south bank of the River Thames. Greenwich is notable for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time. The town became the site of a royal palace, the Palace of Placentia from the 15th century, and was the birthplace of many Tudors, including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The palace fell into disrepair during the English Civil War and was demolished to be replaced by the Royal Naval Hospital for Sailors, designed by Sir Christopher Wren and his assistant Nicholas Hawksmoor. These buildings became the Royal Naval College in 1873, and they remained a military education establishment until 1998 when they passed into the hands of the Greenwich Foundation. The historic rooms within these buildings remain open to the public; other buildings are used by University of Greenwich and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

The town became a popular resort in the 18th century and many grand houses were built there, such as Vanbrugh Castle es...

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APRIL
17
2021

 

West Smithfield, EC1A
West Smithfield is the oldest street of the Smithfield area Smithfield and its market was founded in 1137. The ancient parish of St Sepulchre extended north to Turnmill Street, to St Paul’s Cathedral and Ludgate Hill in the south, and along the east bank of the Fleet (now the route of Farringdon Street). St Sepulchre’s Tower contains the twelve ’bells of Old Bailey’, referred to in the nursery rhyme "Oranges and Lemons". Traditionally, the Great Bell was rung to announce the execution of a prisoner at Newgate.

A livestock market was in the area as early as the 10th century.

As a large open space close to the City, Smithfield was a popular place for public gatherings. In 1374 Edward III held a seven-day tournament at Smithfield. Possibly the most famous medieval tournament at Smithfield was that commanded in 1390 by Richard II.

The Priory of St Bartholomew had long treated the sick. After the Reformation it was left with neither income nor monastic occupants but, following a petition by the C...
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APRIL
16
2021

 

Old Ford Road, E3
Old Ford Road stretches two and a quarter miles from Bethnal Green to Bow Old Ford Road represents two separate ways from different points to the sometime passage across the Lee, one being from the west, the other from the south, which in meeting converged with a third from the north which is known now as Wick Lane, the communication with Hackney.

In ancient times the estuary of the river Lee extended as far as Hackney Wick, and during the period when the Romans were in Britain the marshes which lay above it and on either side were crossed in the direction of Leyton by a stone causeway of which portions have been found, but of any contemporary road leading to it no traces have been discovered, although Roman remains were unearthed in 1868 in the coal and goods yard attached to Old Ford Station. The probability is that there was no military highway of massive construction such as those found elsewhere, but a track formed by use which led through woods and over the open fields to the first fordable place on the river Lee or Lea, a name derived ...
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APRIL
15
2021

 

Crossharbour
Crossharbour is a station on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) Bank-Lewisham Line in Cubitt Town The station opened as ’Crossharbour’ on 31 August 1987 but was renamed in 1994 to ’Crossharbour and London Arena’. After the neighbouring London Arena was demolished in 2006, the original name was reinstated. Just to the north of the current station, the London and Blackwall Railway built Millwall Docks station. This operated between 1871 and 1926.

The ’cross harbour’ name refers to the nearby Glengall Bridge across Millwall Inner Dock. The bridge’s construction was a neccessity for the developers to obtain planning approval for the dock when it was built in 1868.

In 1969 Tower Hamlets council completed the St John’s estate on the Cubitt Town side of the station. The project was begun 17 years earlier by Poplar Borough Council.
»read full article


APRIL
14
2021

 

Narrow Street, E14
Narrow Street is a road running parallel to the River Thames through the Limehouse area Many archaeologists believe that Narrow Street represents the line of the medieval river wall. This wall was built to reclaim riverside marshland and to protect it from the tides.

A combination of tides and currents made this point on the Thames a natural landfall for ships. The first wharf was complete in 1348. Lime kilns or oasts (’lymehostes’) used in the production of mortar and pottery were built here in the fourteenth century.

Houses were then built, on the wall itself at first, but then outwards onto the foreshore by a process of encroachment. Indeed, the eastern end of Narrow Street was previously known as Fore Street.

The area grew rapidly in Elizabethan times as a centre for world trade. The neighbourhood supplied ships with ropes and other necessities; pottery was also made here for the ships. Ship chandlers settled here building wooden houses and wharves in the cramped space between street and river.

By the t...
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LATEST LONDON-WIDE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT


Comment
Carol   
Added: 7 May 2021 18:44 GMT   

Nan
My nan lily,her sister Elizabeth and their parents Elizabeth and William lived here in1911

Reply

   
Added: 4 May 2021 19:45 GMT   

V1 Attack
The site of a V1 incident in 1944

Reply
Comment
David Gibbs   
Added: 3 May 2021 16:48 GMT   

73 Bus Crash in Albion Rd 1961
From a Newspaper cutting of which I have a copy with photo. On Tuesday August 15th 1961 a 73 bus destined for Mortlake at 8.10am. The bus had just turned into Albion Road when the driver passed out, apparently due to a heart attack, and crashed into a wall on the western side of Albion Road outside No 207. The bus driver, George Jefferies aged 56 of Observatory Road, East Sheen, died after being trapped in his cab when he collided with a parked car. Passengers on the bus were thrown from their seats as it swerved. Several fainted, and ambulances were called. The bus crashed into a front garden and became jammed against a wall. The car driver, who had just parked, suffered shock.

Reply

Richard Eades   
Added: 3 May 2021 11:42 GMT   

Downsell Primary School (1955 - 1958)
I was a pupil at Downsell road from I think 1955 age 7 until I left in 1958 age 10 having passed my "11plus" and won a scholarship to Parmiters school in bethnal green. I remember my class teacher was miss Lynn and the deputy head was mrs Kirby.
At the time we had an annual sports day for the whole school in july at drapers field, and trolley buses ran along the high street and there was a turning point for them just above the junction with downsell road.
I used to go swimming at cathall road baths, and also at the bakers arms baths where we had our school swimming galas. I nm y last year, my class was taken on a trip to the tower of london just before the end of term. I would love to hear from any pupils who remember me.

Reply
Lived here
   
Added: 1 May 2021 16:46 GMT   

Cheyne Place, SW3
Frances Faviell, author of the Blitz memoir, "A Chelsea Concerto", lived at 33, Cheyne Place, which was destroyed by a bomb. She survived, with her husband and unborn baby.

Reply

James Preston   
Added: 28 Apr 2021 09:06 GMT   

School
Was this the location of Rosslyn House prep school? I have a photograph of the Rosslyn House cricket team dated 1910 which features my grandfather (Alan Westbury Preston). He would have been 12 years old at the time. All the boys on the photo have been named. If this is the location of the school then it appears that the date of demolition is incorrect.

Reply
Comment
Tricia   
Added: 27 Apr 2021 12:05 GMT   

St George in the East Church
This Church was opened in 1729, designed by Hawksmore. Inside destroyed by incendrie bomb 16th April 1941. Rebuilt inside and finished in 1964. The building remained open most of the time in a temporary prefab.

Reply
Comment
   
Added: 21 Apr 2021 16:21 GMT   

Liverpool Street
the Bishopsgate station has existed since 1840 as a passenger station, but does not appear in the site’s cartography. Evidently, the 1860 map is in fact much earlier than that date.

Reply
NOVEMBER
30
2020

 

The Highway, E1W
The Highway was once the Ratcliffe Highway. In the early days of England’s rise to maritime power, when the foundations of the British Commonwealth were being laid by adventurous men whose courage made their own endeavours seem to themselves nothing but casual events in the life they lived, it was often said of the little vessels when they moored in the Lower Pool that they were "off Ratcliff."

Indeed they were, for the hamlet, which for several generations was the abode ashore of many fine seamen, once extended along the riverside westwards so far as to be separated from the Precinct of St. Katharine by the Tower only by Wapping Marsh, a watery waste consisting of 180 acres lying between the Hermitage and Foxes Lane. Towards the end of the sixteenth century, after much difficulty, it was effectually drained, and a new Wapping came into existence close behind the wall that embanked the Thames. The reclaimed land was recognised as being in the Hamlet of Wapping, or the Lower Hamlet of Whitechapel, in which pari...
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NOVEMBER
29
2020

 

Fitzalan Street, SE11
Fitzalan Street connects Lambeth Walk and Kennington Road. Before renaming in 1893, Fitzalan Street was one of the many ’Union Street’s of London. It is a narrow road aligned northwest-southeast and was already in existence at the turn of the nineteenth century.

There is a notable 19th century pub (The Royal Oak) in the street.

After the Second World War there was much redevelopment which replaced streets to its south - Topaz Street, John Street, William Street and Saunders Street - by a park, the Lambeth Walk Open Space.

As late 19th century maps show, the street was once surrounded on all sides by dense housing, but today has a spacious and open feeling due to the Lambeth Walk open space to the south; this is laid to lawn and lined with mature street trees.
»read full article


NOVEMBER
28
2020

 

Catford Bridge
Catford Bridge is one of a pair of neighbouring railway stations in Catford. Like New Cross and New Cross Gate, southeast London sees both a Catford and Catford Bridge station in the immediate vicinities to one another. This complication seems a bit pointless from a modern perspective. And indeed it is.

NOTE: Apologies in advance for all the forthcoming railway company initials here - this was a complicated story.

The Mid Kent line, including Catford Bridge station, was built by the Mid Kent and North Kent Junction Railway and was opened on 1 January 1857. After opening, the line was worked by the South Eastern Railway (SER). The remaining interests of the Mid Kent company were taken over by the SER in August 1866. Services from the station terminated at Charing Cross or Cannon Street.

Much of the SER’s early history saw attempts at expansion and feuding with its neighbours.

One of the feuds was with the London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR) which was a railway company created on 1 August 1859 w...
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NOVEMBER
27
2020

 

Serpentine Gallery
The Serpentine Galleries are two contemporary art galleries in Kensington Gardens, comprising the Serpentine Gallery and the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. The Serpentine Galleries are within five minutes’ walk of each other, linked by the bridge over the Serpentine Lake from which the galleries get their names.

The first of the two - the Serpentine Gallery - was established in 1970 and is housed in a Grade II listed former tea pavilion built in 1933–34 by the architect James Grey West. Notable artists whose works have been exhibited there include Andy Warhol, Man Ray, Henry Moore, Bridget Riley, Anish Kapoor, Damien Hirst and many others. Diana, Princess of Wales was the gallery’s former patron.

In 2013 the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, with an extension designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, was opened to the public, giving new life to The Magazine, a Grade II* listed former gunpowder store built in 1805. It comprises 900 square metres of gallery space, restaurant, shop and social space.

Every year since 2000 the Serpentine Gallery has commissioned a temporary summer pavilion by a leading architect.
»read full article


NOVEMBER
26
2020

 

Queensmead
Queensmead, a detached part of Wraysbury, is the only part of Berkshire to lie within the M25. The area, just north of the Thames and west of Staines is dominated by the Queensmead Lake reservoir, which is 1.84 kilometres in width and covers 6.9 hectares.

Two islands lie along the Queensmead section of the River Thames - Holm Island and Hollyhook Island.
»read full article


NOVEMBER
25
2020

 

East India Dock Wall Road, E14
East India Dock Wall Road followed an early 19th century high stock brick wall leading to the former East India Dock. East India Dock Wall Road was laid out as a road between 1822 and 1824 and gave access to Brunswick Wharf (built 1834) and ran parallel to Naval Row - where the two roads diverged is a connecting flight of steps for pedestrians.

The construction of warehouses along the north side of the Export Dock in 1816 led to the building of a general office at the west end of the quay. The beginnings of East India Dock Wall Road started as no more than a path to serve the building. The warehouse was a plain single-storey brick building, partly top-lit by means of a glazed lantern, with an entrance in the centre of the west front through a porch flanked by paired pilasters. This building survived until after the Second World War.

East India Dock Wall Road’s main purpose by the 1840s was to connect Blackwall station (and the Brunswick Temperance Hotel) to the outside world. Blackwall had been a railway station which served as the eastern terminus of the Commercial R...
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NOVEMBER
24
2020

 

Queen’s Theatre
The Queen’s Theatre is located in Shaftesbury Avenue on the corner of Wardour Street. The original plan was to name this venue ’The Central Theatre’. After a lengthy debate involving the owners, it was named The Queen’s Theatre and a portrait of Queen Alexandra was hung in the foyer.

It opened on 8 October 1907 on the corner of Shafter\sbury Avenue as a twin to the neighbouring Hicks Theatre (now the Gielgud Theatre) which had opened ten months earlier. Both theatres were designed by WGR Sprague.

In September 1940, a German bomb landed directly on the Queen’s Theatre, destroying the façade and lobby. The production at the time was Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca starring Celia Johnson, Owen Nares and Margaret Rutherford. The theatre remained closed until a ₤250,000 restoration was completed by Westwood Sons & Partners almost 20 years later. The auditorium retained its Edwardian décor while the lobbies and exterior were rebuilt in a modern style. The reconstructed theatre opened on 8 July 1959 with John Gielgud’s ...
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NOVEMBER
23
2020

 

Spa Road, SE16
A train left Deptford railway station for Spa Road station at 8am on 8 February 1836 - it was the first train in London. In 1770, one Thomas Keyse discovered a natural spring. He had opened a tea garden beside what is now Spa Road, on the banks of the River Neckinger. The fortuitous discovery of a chalybeate spring enabled the gardens to be described as ’Bermondsey Spa’. During the 18th century, drinking mineral water was considered good for one’s health. As a result Bermondsey boomed and led to the development of the health-giving elixir which ’Spa Road’ commemorates. Unlike the tapwater-based spring in the nearby ’Only Fools And Horses’ Peckham, Bermondsey Spa was the real deal, although it closed in 1804.

The road then spent thirty quiet years until it took its place in London history as the capital’s first station: Spa Road became the terminus of the London and Greenwich Railway (later the South Eastern and Chatham Railway). Keyse’s tea gardens were roughly situated at the site of the station on the south side of Spa Road.

Spa Road - then Grange Road -...
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NOVEMBER
22
2020

 

Dartford Tunnel, RM19
The original (western) Dartford Tunnel opened in 1963. An idea of a tunnel crossing was proposed by the Ministry of Transport in 1924. Initial reports suggested a crossing between Tilbury and Gravesend, but this was rejected in favour of a route further upstream, near Dartford. By 1929, the total cost of building the tunnel was estimated at £3 million. The tunnel was planned to be part of a general orbital route around London and was provisionally known as part of the ’South Orbital Road’.

The first engineering work to take place was a compressed air driven pilot tunnel, drilled between 1936 and 1938. Work on the tunnel was delayed due to World War II, and resumed in 1959. The two-lane tunnel opened to traffic on 18 November 1963 with the total project being £13 million. It initially served approximately 12 000 vehicles per day.
»read full article


NOVEMBER
21
2020

 

Rouel Road, SE16
Rouel Road once stood next to one of London’s first railway stations: Spa Road station in Bermondsey. Most of the land around what became Rouel Road had been owned by John Rolls, 1st Baron Llangattock. Before any major construction took place, the area had been rural - small farms, market gardens and cottages. But Spa Road railway station, the original terminus of the London & Greenwich Railway, opened almost next to the future site of Rouel Road in 1836.

The name ’Rouel’ was approved in 1864, probably taken from Rouel Cottages. Houses were built in 1867. Much of the land and properties were managed by John Rolls’ agents. Lord & Lady Rolls were the last aristocratic landlords of Rouel Road.

Bermondsey was known for its work with leather and hides and as industrialisation began, leather tanning became predominant. One of two large tanneries was sited on the east side of Rouel Road - later the Liptons preservative factory was built on the site.

There were many food and provision factory in the vicinity. The blancmange manufacturers Pe...
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NOVEMBER
20
2020

 

Heath House
Heath House is a Grade II* listed historic mansion on Hampstead Heath. From 1790 Heath House was the London seat of banker and philanthropist Sir Samuel Hoare. It remained in his family until the house was badly damaged in the Second World War and was sold. The branch of the Hoare family at the house were Quakers and played a significant part in philanthropy and public life. Several members of the family were also members of Parliament, including Sir Samuel Hoare, 1st Baronet who held the Norwich seat, his son Sir Samuel Hoare (Viscount Templewood) who was Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary. Edward Brodie Hoare was MP for Hampstead.

The house has been associated with Elizabeth Fry (who married into the family) and William Wilberforce with whom the Hoare family fought for abolition of slavery.

After the Second World War, after a number of years of dereliction, Heath House was bought by Donald Forrester who undertook a major renovation on the building and the grounds. It then became a Forrester family home for several years....
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NOVEMBER
19
2020

 

Thames Barrier
The Thames Barrier is the world’s second-largest movable flood barrier (after the Oosterscheldekering in the Netherlands). Operational since 1982, its purpose is to prevent the floodplain of all but the easternmost boroughs of Greater London from being flooded by exceptionally high tides and storm surges moving up from the North Sea.

London is vulnerable to flooding and from heavy tides closing in. A storm surge generated by low pressure in the Atlantic Ocean sometimes tracks eastwards past the north of Scotland and may then be driven into the shallow waters of the North Sea. The surge tide is funnelled down the North Sea which narrows towards the English Channel and the Thames Estuary. If the storm surge coincides with a spring tide, dangerously high water levels can occur in the Thames Estuary. This situation combined with downstream flows in the Thames provides the triggers for flood defence operations. The report of Sir Hermann Bondi on the North Sea flood of 1953 affecting parts of the Thames Estuary and parts of London was instrumental in the building of the barrier.

Wh...
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NOVEMBER
18
2020

 

Lant Street, SE1
Lant Street derives its name from the Lant family who inherited the estates known as Southwark Olace. The area around Lant Street was once known as The Mint. It was a slum area until as late as the 19th century but also a ’liberty’ with privileges for debtors until The Mint in Southwark Act (1722) removed these rights.

Much earlier, Suffolk House to the north had been the residence of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. It was exchanged by Henry VIII, the king giving the Duke of Suffolk in return the house of the Bishop of Norwich in St Martin’s-in-the-Fields. Suffolk House then took the name of Southwark Place and a mint was established here for the king’s use.

Later, Queen Mary I gave the mansion to Nicholas Heath, Archbishop of York. Archbishop Heath sold the premises, which were partly pulled down and many small cottages being built on the site. This estate devolved to the Lant family and Queen Anne empowered Thomas Lant to let leases for 51 years. In 1773 it was advertised to be let as seventeen acres, on which were 400 houses, with a r...
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NOVEMBER
17
2020

 

Eastcheap, EC3R
Eastcheap is the western continuation of Great Tower Street towards the Monument junction. Eastcheap takes its name from cheap, the Old English word for market. There was a Westcheap - another former market street - that today is called Cheapside.

The Eastcheap name first appeared on an Anglo-Saxon penny of King Harold I’s reign. The penny was minted in London between 1035 and 1037 and the mint signature on the coin reads EADǷOLD ONESTCEPLV (’Eadwold on East Cheap’). This is the earliest known instance of a street-name on Anglo-Saxon coinage.

During the medieval period, Eastcheap was the main meat market in the City of London, with butchers’ stalls lining both sides of the street. The current section of the street was known as Little Eastcheap.

The street formerly extended further to the west, where it was called Great Eastcheap, but this section disappeared when King William Street was built in the early 19th century. Eastcheap was the location of Falstaff’s Boar’s Head Inn, featured in ...
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NOVEMBER
16
2020

 

Maida Vale, W9
Maida Vale is the name of part of the A5 road running through northwest London and ultimately takes its name from a pub. The whole area of Maida Vale belonged to the Bishop of London in 1647, when a Mrs Wheatley was tenant of a wood and of 44 acres of pasture in five 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 around 39 acres in six closes to the south and west. Kilburn Bridge Farm was worth £230 a year in 1795.

Further south, Paddington Wood and some fields of Manor House Farm abutted the Edgware Road, with fields of Parsonage Farm to the west. There were no other buildings in 1790.

Building was made possible by the Act of 1795 but for the northern part of the Bishop’s estate, the first agreements occurred in 1807.

Plots existed along Edgware Road, in Hill Field and Pond Field and as far north as Paddington Wood. Builders Francis Humbert of Marylebone and Abraham C...
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NOVEMBER
15
2020

 

St Michaels Alley, EC3V
St Michael’s Alley was the centre of the 17th century London coffee house phenomenon. The church of St Michael was in existence by 1133 and ended up in the possession of the Drapers’ Company. After a fire at the church in 1421, tenements were built along with teh creation of St Michael’s Alley, just off of Cornhill. The first coffee house in London was opened there in 1652.

Pasqua Roseé, who was a Greek Armenian, ran it as a side-business to his main profession of being valet to the businessman Daniel Edwards. Edwards was an importer of goods from the Ottomon Empire and this included coffee. Edwards had been helped in this particular import idea by Pasqua Roseé who beforehand had been a servant for a Levant merchant in Smyrna, Turkey and had there developed a taste for Turkish coffee. Before working for Daniel Edwards, Roseé - whose real name was Harutiun Vartian - had previously established a coffee house in Oxford the previous year with no discernible success. The accepted story of the creation of London’s first coffee house runs that visitors...
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NOVEMBER
14
2020

 

Northumberland House
Northumberland House was a large Jacobean townhouse in London, which was the London residence of the Percy family, the Dukes of Northumberland. In the 16th century the Strand, which connects the City of London with the royal centre of Westminster, was lined with the mansions of some of England’s richest noblemen. Most of the grandest houses were on the southern side of the road and had gardens stretching down to the River Thames.

In around 1605, Henry Howard 1st Earl of Northampton cleared a site at Charing Cross on the site of a convent and built himself a mansion, which was at first known as Northampton House. It had a single central courtyard and turrets in each corner. It stood at the far western end of the Strand from around 1605 until demolished in 1874. In its later years it overlooked Trafalgar Square. The section facing the Strand was 162 feet wide.

The layout reflected medieval traditions, with a great hall as the principal room, and separate apartments for members of the household. Many of these apartments were reached from external doors in the courtyard in the style still seen...
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NOVEMBER
13
2020

 

Fitz-James Avenue, W14
St Paul’s Studios was designed by Frederick Wheeler and built in 1891. The St Paul’s Studios block - so-named as it looked over the grounds of St Paul’s School - was aimed at the housing of ’bachelor artists’. These unmarried men would require a separate flat for their housekeepers and their artistic endeavours would require the large windows with natural light facing Colet Gardens. And it became so.

Frederick Wheeler designed St Paul’s Studios for fine art publisher James Fairless and much attention was put into the design with wonderful Victoria terracotta flourishes and a distinctive typeface on the signage.

The block was occupied within a year of being built by the very clientele it had been designed for - amongst others, artist William Logsdail, designer George Kruger Gray and sculptor Ruby Levick lived here.

The block looked out onto a peaceful suburban scene until the turn of the 1960s. Quiet Colet Gardens, with its milk floats and schoolchildren, fell victim to the upgraded A4 scheme whereby ...
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NOVEMBER
12
2020

 

Alan Coren Close, NW2
Alan Coren Close is named for an important contributor to Cricklewood culture. Alan Coren (1938–2007) was an English writer and satirist. He was well-known as a regular panellist on the BBC radio quiz ’The News Quiz’ and a team captain on BBC television’s ’Call My Bluff’. Coren was for almost a decade the editor of ’Punch’ magazine.

Alan Coren was born in East Barnet and educated at East Barnet Grammar School followed by Wadham College at Oxford. He studied for a doctorate in modern American literature at Yale and Berkeley.

He began his writing career by selling articles to ’Punch’ and was later offered a full-time job there. In 1966, he became Punch’s literary editor, becoming deputy editor in 1969 and editor in 1977. When Coren left Punch in 1987, he became editor of The Listener, continuing there until 1989.

In 1977, Coren was invited to be one of the regular panellists on BBC Radio 4’s then-new satirical quiz show, ’The News Quiz’. He continued until 2007.

Coren published...
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NOVEMBER
11
2020

 

Brixton
Brixton is a mainly residential area of south London with a prominent street market and substantial retail sector. The name Brixton is thought to originate from Brixistane, meaning the stone of Brixi (a Saxon lord).

Brixton marks the rise to more stable land between the marshes of North Lambeth up to the hills of Upper Norwood. The River Effra (now underground) flows from its source in Upper Norwood through Herne Hill to Brixton. At Brixton the river was crossed by low bridges for Roman roads to the south coast (now Brixton Road and Clapham Road). The main roads were connected through a network of medieval country lanes, such as Acre Lane, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton Water Lane and Lyham Road (formerly Black Lane).

At the end of the 18th century villages and settlements formed around Brixton as the original woodland was gradually reduced. The area becames covered in farmland and market gardens known especially for its strawberries.

With the opening of Vauxhall Bridge in 1816, improved access to Central London led to a process of suburban developmen...
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NOVEMBER
10
2020

 

Frying Pan Alley, E1
Frying Pan Alley is situated close to Middlesex Street and its Petticoat Lane market. Frying Pan Alley is an indication of the businesses that used to operate here.

Ironmongers and braziers used the frying pan as the emblem of their trade and they would hang a pan outside their shop so people could see what their business was. Over time, the name stuck, but the frying pans are long gone.

According to folklore, a shopper was once hit on the head by a pan here as it dropped down and nearly flattened him. From that time on, people walked by the shop on the opposite side of the path in an attempt to avoid another incident.

It is unknown so far just how old Frying Pan Alley is - but it was already appearing on the oldest detailed London-wide map - that of John Rocque in the 1750s/1760s.
»read full article


NOVEMBER
9
2020

 

Rhodes Farm
Rhodes Farm was situated on Hampstead Road. Even before the coming of the railways, London was expanding around the area of Rhodes Farm. Building had jumped over the New Road (now the Euston Road) though this road had been partly designed to limit the growth of London within it.

Nevertheless, Rhodes Farm was 20 acres in extent in the 1830s. The land was on the east of Hampstead Road, near Cardington Street and Somers Town. At that time, the countryside was open from the back of the British Museum to Kentish Town and further north.

In 1835, parliamentary permission was granted to take the London and Birmingham Railway from its proposed terminus in Chalk Farm a little further south. The Chalk Farm plans were abandoned, and the new terminal building was earmarked for a clearing called ’Euston Grove’ a patch of land which belonged to Rhodes Farm.

According to a contemporary painting, the farm survived until 1844.
»read full article


NOVEMBER
8
2020

 

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. The land on which the southern part of Endell Street is built was originally owned by William Short, who leased it to Esmé Stewart, 3rd Duke of Lennox, in 1623–24. Lennox House was built on the site which eventually passed to Sir John Brownlow who began to build from 1682.

Belton Street was created, named after the Brownlow’s country seat in Lincolnshire, Belton House.Henry Wheatley writes that the southern end of the street from Castle Street to Short’s Gardens was originally known as Old Belton Street, the northern end from Short’s Gardens to St Giles, was known as New Belton Street.

In the seventeenth century, Queen Anne is supposed to have bathed in the waters from a medical spring there at a site known as Queen Anne’s Bath.

The modern Endell Street was created according to the reforming plans of architect James Pennethorne.

Charles Lethbridge Kingsford states that the street was built in 1846 when Belton Stre...
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NOVEMBER
7
2020

 

Clifford Gardens, NW10
Clifford Gardens is a street just north of the railway at Kensal Rise. The All Souls’ estate now stretches from Kensal Green to Harlesden. Many of the houses were built by Charles Langler and Charles Pinkham in the last decade of the nineteenth century.

Their most noteworthy houses are those in Clifford Gardens built around 1897, the facades of which are decorated with quaint and curious stucco scenes. These were fashioned by an old Hampstead man employed by Langler and Pinkham.

Clifford Gardens ran originally beyond the southern boundary of the National Athletic Ground.
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NOVEMBER
6
2020

 

Lambeth North
Lambeth North is the area surrounding the Imperial War Museum. Since the 19th century North Lambeth has been one of the names to describe the area around Waterloo station and the shopping district around Lower Marsh market, which was the heart of the original Lambeth village. This area contains many business premises and nationally important locations such as St Thomas’ Hospital, the London Eye, the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Festival Hall, County Hall, Lambeth Palace, and the Imperial War Museum.

Lambeth North tube station serves the area. Designed by Leslie Green, the station was opened by the Baker Street & Waterloo Railway on 10 March 1906, with the name Kennington Road. It served as the temporary southern terminus of the line until 5 August 1906, when Elephant & Castle station was opened. The station’s name was changed to Westminster Bridge Road in July 1906 and it was again renamed, to Lambeth North, in April 1917.

At 4am on 16 January 1941, a German Satan 1800 kg genera...
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NOVEMBER
5
2020

 

Waterloo
London Waterloo station is a central London railway terminus and London Underground complex. The station is one of 18 in Britain owned and operated by Network Rail and is close to the South Bank of the River Thames. The London and South Western Railway (L&SWR) opened the station on 11 July 1848 as ’Waterloo Bridge Station’ (from the nearby crossing over the Thames) when its main line was extended from Nine Elms. The station, designed by William Tite, was raised above marshy ground on a series of arches. The unfulfilled intention was for a through station with services to the City. In 1886, it officially became Waterloo Station, reflecting long-standing common usage, even in some L&SWR timetables.

It is located in the Waterloo district of London, which was itself named after the Battle of Waterloo in which Napoleon was defeated near Brussels.

As the station grew, it became increasingly ramshackle. The original 1848 station became known as the ’Central Station’ as other platforms were added. The new platform sets were known by nicknames - the two platforms added for suburban services in 1878 were the ’Cyprus Station’, whilst ...
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NOVEMBER
4
2020

 

Victoria Hotel
The Victoria Tavern was built on the corner of Kilburn High Road and Willesden Lane in the middle of the nineteenth century. The champion prize fighter Alec Keene (whose real name was Alexander Findlay) was licensee between 1866 and 1879.

Keene fought successfully until the 1850s but then retired and like many ex-boxers, went on to manage a pub. He was at first licensee of The Three Tuns in Soho where exhibition boxing matches were held. After moving to Kilburn, Keene held boxing matches at the Victoria Tavern, situated at 205 Kilburn High Road. He also ran pigeon shooting competitions which proved popular.

Keene and his partner George Brown also provided catering for crowds at race meetings, such as the annual Barnet Fair. They set up a booth for the sale of hot joints of meat, chicken and vegetables. To round off the meal, there was "Moet’s champagne, wines and spirits, Bass’s pale ale and Guinness’s stout".

Keene died in 1881 and he was buried at Paddington Cemetery in Willesden Lane.

Irish migration to Kilburn began in the 1930s ...
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NOVEMBER
3
2020

 

Colet Gardens, W14
Colet Gardens is a shadow of its former self. Colet Gardens predated most of the urban development of the area, being previously known as Red Cow Lane. It ran through what was previously market gardens.

Colet Gardens got its name from the Renaissance scholar and Dean of St Paul’s, John Colet, who had founded St Paul’s school in 1509. St Paul’s School occupied local land and buildings in the immediate area.

Colet House, on the road, was built in 1885 and became a workplace of many artists and then a dance school. Its address changed to Talgarth Road in the 1960s when that road became part of the A4.

The line of Talgarth Road took over the southern section of Colet Gardens in 1961 and became a main road of London. The northern section of Colet Gardens remained suburban.

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NOVEMBER
2
2020

 

Blenheim Crescent, W11
Blenheim Crescent one of the major thoroughfares in Notting Hill - indeed it features in the eponymous film. Blenheim Crescent runs from Portobello Road west across Ladbroke Grove and then curls round to the south to join Clarendon Road. The section between Portobello Road and Kensington Park Road consists of shops and cafés, including at one time the Travel Bookshop that inspired the 1999 film Notting Hill; the rest of the street is residential. The odd numbers are on the south side and the evens on the north. From Ladbroke Grove west, the whole crescent is now lined with magnificent mature cherry trees.

Until the middle of the 19th century, what is now Blenheim Crescent was open country. Plans began to be developed for creating a road in the 1840s. In preparation sewers were laid at any rate at the Clarendon Road end in about 1850, and some building leases were let. But the demand for housing had collapsed and the lessees probably failed to raise the necessary finance. Nothing much further happened until the 1860s, when the last great wave of development on the Ladbroke Est...
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NOVEMBER
1
2020

 

Arnold Circus, E2
Arnold Circus lies to the north of Shoreditch. The Boundary Estate was laid out with a central raised garden with a bandstand called Arnold Circus, after the chairman of the LCC’s Main Drainage committee Arthur Arnold, which was designed to break the monotony’ of the East End’s drab terraced housing.

The Boundary Estate was the result of a major slum clearance of the 1890s. This area, called Friars Mount, was part of an area parcelled out in building leases in the early 19th and may have been named after a farmer called Fryer. It had become an area of speculative building and absentee landlords. Housing, originally cottages for weavers, had been crammed and infilled with badly built and ruinous dwellings with little drainage or water supply and grossly overcrowded inhabited by those barely able to make a living. One in every four children born here died in childhood. Its poverty and desperation drew philanthropists from the late 18th and reformers attempted to improve health and housing. The London Coun...
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