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Featured · Queen’s Park ·
FEBRUARY
3
2023

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.

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

Latest on The Underground Map...
Northumberland Avenue, WC2N
Northumberland Avenue runs from Trafalgar Square in the west to the Thames Embankment in the east. In 1608–09, Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton built a house on the eastern side of the former Chapel and Hospital of St. Mary Rounceval, at Charing Cross, including gardens running to the River Thames and adjoining Scotland Yard to the west. The estate became the property of Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland when he married Howard’s great-great niece, Lady Elizabeth, in 1642, whereupon it was known as Northumberland House.

In June 1874, the whole of Northumberland House was purchased by the Metropolitan Board of Works and demolished to form Northumberland Avenue, which would accommodate hotels. The road was part built on the parallel Northumberland Street.

Contemporary planning permissions forbade hotels to be taller than the width of the road they were on; consequently Northumberland Avenue was built with a wide carriageway. Part of the parallel Northumberland Street was demolished in order to make way for the avenue’s eastern...

»more

AUGUST
21
2022

 

Vernon Yard, W11
Vernon Yard is a mews off of Portobello Road The name Portobello Road derived from the 1739 capture of Puerto Bello in Central America from the Spaniards by Admiral Vernon (1684-1757) with only six ships.

Vernon Yard is similarly named - it was known as Vernon Mews until 1932. It is a small L-shaped mews with its entrance under an archway between 117 and 119 Portobello Road. The terrace of houses in Portobello Road that backs onto the mews was originally called Vernon Terrace, and the mews served these houses.

Vernon Yard would have been built at the same time as Vernon Terrace, in the first half of the 1850s. The 1863 Ordnance Survey map shows two numbered units (Nos. 1 and 2) at the southern end of Vernon Yard; a further eight units (Nos. 3-10) along the western side) and one (No. 11) at the northern end. These were almost certainly stable blocks with accommodation above. On the eastern side, the map shows a number of unnumbered units which were probably warehouses or stabling belonging to the ad...
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AUGUST
20
2022

 

Rainham Road, NW10
Rainham Road, in Kensal Green, was laid out in 1895 The United Land Company bought a 6 acre triangle of land between Harrow Road and the Hampstead Junction railway in 1879, and an adjoining 21 acres from All Souls College in 1882. The whole area was laid out as high-density terraced housing and shops as far east as College Road.

The college leased 13 acres south of the L&NWR railway line to Edward Vigers, who by 1888 had laid out roads and started building 134 small terraced houses.

Rainham Road was let on building leases in 1895 and 30 houses had been built there by 1898.
»read full article


AUGUST
19
2022

 

Eton Avenue, NW3
Eton Avenue runs parallel with Adelaide Road, two blocks north From 1873 onward, William Willett and his son worked together as the chief building team in the area. In the early 1880s, they accepted the challenge of the Eton College estate by constructing Eton Avenue and surrounding roads.

The Willetts then moved on to both Lyndhurst Gardens and Wedderburn Road.

The houses set a precedent for aesthetic architecture in the speculative market. Drawing inspiration from English Queen Anne designs of the late 17th century, they were built with red brick, steep pitched roofs and tall chimneys. Dormers, gables, ornamental glass and ornamentation were other features that set them apart. Every single house was distinct.
»read full article


AUGUST
18
2022

 

Maylands
Maylands was already in existence by 1420 and then called Mellonde Maylands was part of the manor of Dagenhams as early as the 13th century, although it was let out on lease. Two fields beside the Brentwood Road were called Little and Great Dellams and were known in the Middle Ages. Around 1610, Maylands was leased to John Wright of Wright’s Bridge.

In 1919 and at an annual rent of £262, the tenant was a Mr G. Gotheridge who had purchased the farm that same year.

In the 1930s, Mr Hillman ran a civil aerodrome on Maylands Farm and organised aeroplane flights for 5/- per ride. When the Second World War ended, London County Council (LCC) didn’t acquire the farm as it was located outside of their housing estate area.

By the turn of the twenty first century, the old farm buildings had become the headquarters of The Maylands Golf Club.
»read full article





LATEST LONDON-WIDE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT


Scott Hatton   
Added: 30 Jan 2023 11:28 GMT   

The Beatles on a London rooftop
The Beatles’ rooftop concert took place on the rooftop of the Apple Corps building in London. It was their final public performance as a band and was unannounced, attracting a crowd of onlookers. The concert lasted for 42 minutes and included nine songs. The concert is remembered as a seminal moment in the history of rock music and remains one of the most famous rock performances of all time.

Reply

Michael Upham   
Added: 16 Jan 2023 21:16 GMT   

Bala Place, SE16
My grandfather was born at 2 Bala Place.

Reply

   
Added: 15 Jan 2023 09:49 GMT   

The Bombing of Nant Street WW2
My uncle with his young son and baby daughter were killed in the bombing of Nant Street in WW2. His wife had gone to be with her mother whilst the bombing of the area was taking place, and so survived. Cannot imagine how she felt when she returned to see her home flattened and to be told of the death of her husband and children.


Reply
Lived here
Brian J MacIntyre   
Added: 8 Jan 2023 17:27 GMT   

Malcolm Davey at Raleigh House, Dolphin Square
My former partner, actor Malcolm Davey, lived at Raleigh House, Dolphin Square, for many years until his death. He was a wonderful human being and an even better friend. A somewhat underrated actor, but loved by many, including myself. I miss you terribly, Malcolm. Here’s to you and to History, our favourite subject.
Love Always - Brian J MacIntyre
Minnesota, USA

Reply
Lived here
Robert Burns   
Added: 5 Jan 2023 17:46 GMT   

1 Abourne Street
My mother, and my Aunt and my Aunt’s family lived at number 1 Abourne Street.
I remember visitingn my aunt Win Housego, and the Housego family there. If I remember correctly virtually opposite number 1, onthe corner was the Lord Amberley pub.

Reply
Comment
   
Added: 30 Dec 2022 21:41 GMT   

Southam Street, W10
do any one remember J&A DEMOLITON at harrow rd kensal green my dad work for them in a aec 6 wheel tipper got a photo of him in it

Reply
Comment
Fumblina   
Added: 26 Dec 2022 18:59 GMT   

Detailed history of Red Lion
I’m not the author but this blog by Dick Weindling and Marianne Colloms has loads of really clear information about the history of the Red Lion which people might appreciate.


Source: ‘Professor Morris’ and the Red Lion, Kilburn

Reply

BG   
Added: 20 Dec 2022 02:58 GMT   

Lancing Street, NW1
LANCING STREET

Reply


Click here to explore another London street
We now have 549 completed street histories and 46951 partial histories
Find streets or residential blocks within the M25 by clicking STREETS

MARCH
31
2021

 

Howard Street, WC2R
Howard Street ran from Surrey Street to Arundel Street until 1974. Norfolk Street and Howard Street were built over the grounds of Arundel House which had been the property of the Howard family, Dukes of Norfolk.

Howard Street was demolished in the 1970s to build Arundel Great Court.
»read full article


MARCH
30
2021

 

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.
»read full article


MARCH
29
2021

 

Alpha Grove, E14
Alpha Grove runs from Strafford Street to Tiller Road. Alpha Grove ran right through to the West India Dock fence dock - its cranes can be seen at the end of the road. When built in the 1800s, Alpha Road followed a section of the old Island path, Dolphin Lane.

Albert Terrace and Alfred Terrace were rows of houses in Alpha Road.

Alpha Road was renamed Alpha Grove in 1939, and was seriously damaged during WWII.

In 1964 the LCC declared this site as the Manilla Street Clearance Area, and this north end of Alpha Grove became a part of Manilla Street in the Barkantine Estate.

Alpha Road Methodist Chapel (Wesleyan Chapel, Alpha Grove Community Centre) was built in 1887. An additional hall was added in 1926. The buildings were converted into a community centre in the 1970s.
»read full article


MARCH
28
2021

 

Aldgate High Street, EC3N
Once the route to one of the six original gates of the Wall of London, Aldgate High Street has an important place in medieval London’s history. Aldgate High Street was closely located to where the eastern part of the original Roman Wall, and in the medieval period, it led to town of Colchester in Essex.

Because of its connection to places outside London, Aldgate High Street was vital to the geography of medieval London. Unfortunately, any archaeological remnants of the Roman gate have been obscured, and there is no evidence of its precise location, but is believed to have straddled Aldgate High Street, the gate’s northern edge beneath the pavement of current address of 1-2 Aldgate High Street, and its southern edge beneath 88-89 Aldgate High Street.

There is some dispute over the etymology and meaning of "Aldgate," but various historians have provided some theories. The earliest record of Aldgate has it listed as East Gate, which makes sense, given its location as the easternmost gate on the Wall.

Another interpretation of its current name, "Ale Gate," indicates that an ale-ho...
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MARCH
27
2021

 

Banister Road, W10
Banister Road just scrapes being classed as belonging to the Queen’s Park Estate. The rest of the W10 postal area is politically part of the City of Westminster (the Queen’s Park Estate) or the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (North Kensington and Kensal Town).

Banister Road is the exception, being part of the London Borough of Brent.

It was built to provide a short cut between Kilburn Lane and the then newly-constructed Chamberlayne Road.
»read full article


MARCH
26
2021

 

Mortimer Place, NW6
Mortimer Place runs east from Kilburn Priory. A.A.Milne was born in Kilburn in 1882. The house where he was living was destroyed in the war when a V1 fell in the vicinity and the site is now occupied by Remsted House, part of the Mortimer Estate, at the junction of Mortimer Place and Kilburn Priory.

In 1948 the L.C.C. began clearing the area between Greville Road and Mortimer Place and Crescent, which it replaced with the Mortimer Crescent estate, eight smallscale, brick blocks of flats, which were opened c. 1955.
»read full article


MARCH
25
2021

 

Albury Street, SE8
Albury Street was originally Union Street - a name commemorating the 1707 union of Scotland and England. A local bricklayer, Thomas Lucas, built houses in Union Street homes from 1706 onwards. The north side of the street still has an original terrace of eighteenth century housing.

Buildings along the street were quite mixed to cater for all classes in this dockyard town - from naval officers to shipbuilders and labourers.

John Gast (1772-1837), author of radical pamphlets and dissenting preacher, lived in the King of Prussia pub.

The street was renamed as Creek Road before it became Albury Street.

Nursery pioneers the McMillan sisters held a Boys’ Night Camp at 24 Albury Street in the early twentieth century which provided poor children with the opportunity to wash and get clean nightclothes. The girls’ camp was held in Evelyn Street.
»read full article


MARCH
24
2021

 

Bull and Mouth Street, EC2V
Bull and Mouth Street ran between King Edward Street and St Martin’s Le Grand. The street was first recorded on John Ogilby’s ’Large Scale Map of the City As Rebuilt’ (1676) and may date from rebuilding after the Great Fire of London.

The Bull and Mouth Inn stood on the south side of the street. The inn was destroyed in the Great Fire and rebuilt.

The inn’s original name was the Boulogne Mouth which referenced to the siege of Boulogne in the time of Henry VIII in 1544-46. The name became corrupted into Bull and Mouth. It was renamed as The Queen’s Hotel after being rebuilt as a hotel by the coaching entrepreneur Edward Sherman at a cost of £60,000. The hotel provided accommodation for passengers and underground stabling for 700 horses.

An 1875 Ordnance Survey map shows the 1842 French Protestant Chapel at the eastern corner with St Martin’s Le Grand.

The street was demolished in 1887 or 1888 to make way for new Post Office buildings.
»read full article


MARCH
23
2021

 

Whielden Street, HP7
Whielden Street is the only street with this name in the UK. Whielden Street either took its name from the 14th-century William de Whildene or from the Anglo-Saxon “Hwael” meaning “Curve” and “Dene” meaning “Valley” – “Whielden” meaning a curving valley. It road is part of the old Reading turnpike, the Judges’ Assize road from Reading to Hatfield, and as such must have been used for many centuries.

The Amersham Hospital was at one time the Union Workhouse and Whielden Street was sometimes called Union Street in the 19th century, named after the Workhouse for the Amersham Union of Parishes, built in 1838.

There are a number of 17th century houses in the road.

At the top of Whielden Street was once the Market Square but now is part of the High Street.
»read full article


MARCH
22
2021

 

Ely Gardens, WD6
Ely Gardens is a cul-de-sac off of Nicoll Way. Ely Gardens was typical of the L.C.C. house building style of the early 1950s.

Initially, there were two housing estates in Borehamwood - Site 1 and Site 2. Site 1 - the south side of Shenley Road/Elstree Way - was built first, commencing in 1951. Site 2 was north of Shenley Road and Elstree Way.

Ely Gardens commenced building around 1951, of 5000 properties comprising: one, two and three-bedroom houses, terraced and semi-detached, one and two-bedroom flats and bungalows. During the building programme, some older trees, bushes and green hedges were left. Some roads such as Ely Gardens had large greens outside the houses.
»read full article


MARCH
21
2021

 

Walker’s Court, W1D
Walker’s Court is one of the many passageways which in past years was known as ’Paved Alley’. Walker’s Court links Berwick Street with Rupert Street in the heart of Soho.

The area was built in the early eighteenth century. Building leases were granted in the area to a number of tradesmen in 1719 and 1720, one of whom was a bricklayer - John Walker of St. Martin’s. Once simply topped with earth over potholes, the arrival of solid flag stones got it called ’Paved Alley’.

A notable feature of Walker’s Court is that it housed one of the few council licensed sex establishments in London, going under the name of Raymond’s Review Bar. This became somewhat tamer as the year’s went by even hosting the Comedy Store for a while. It closed in 2004.

On either side of Walker’s Court there are a variety of shops including a notable book shop on the corner of Brewer Street.

Berwick Market is in full swing Monday to Saturday until 5pm and is at its busiest around lunchtime.

When the stall holders have go...
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MARCH
20
2021

 

Avenue Road, DA7
Avenue Road runs south from Bexleyheath railway station. Avenue Road took its name from its distinct avenue of elm trees. The line of trees led to the Manor House which had been built in 1769 by William Wheatley. In 1858 the house was pulled down and in August 1874 the Wheatley estate was sold off fetching c.£170,000. The open land being sold for building development including new homes. Large detached houses were built, starting in the south end of the street.

Market gardening remained the main local industry which benefited greatly with the coming of the railway to Bexleyheath in 1895. By the turn of the twentieth century, large nurseries had appeared on both sides of the road.

The railway fuelled development and the market gardens gave way to further housing.

Sadly, The trees were felled in 1936, bringing the streetscape into line with many others locally.
»read full article


MARCH
19
2021

 

Whipps Cross
The ’Whipps Cross’ name specifically applies to the junction of Lea Bridge Road with Whipps Cross Road and Wood Street. Whipps Cross is first mentioned in local records of the late fourteenth century as Phip’s cross, referring to a wayside cross set up by a member of the family of a John Phyppe. Further versions on maps and deeds are Phyppys Crosse in 1517, Fypps Chrosse in 1537, Phippes Cross in 1572, and finally Whipps Cross by 1636. The change in the initial consonant is thought to have been a product of the local Essex dialect at that time, in which ’F’ sounds were pronounced as ’W’.

To the south of Whipps Cross Road and west of James Lane, the Forest House estate had its origins in a lease of land granted by the Abbot of Stratford Langthorne Abbey in 1492.

Forrest House was built by 1568. Ownership of the estate passed to James Houblon, a wealthy City merchant of Huguenot descent, in 1682. Houblon built a new house in the English Baroque style. In 1703, the estate was sold to Sir Gilbert Heathcote, the last Lord Mayor of London to ride on horseback at the L...
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MARCH
18
2021

 

Raasay Street, SW10
Raasay Street ran from Dartrey Road to Edith Grove. Raasay Street was a poor street in the enclave of World’s End, Chelsea. It had been built over the hirtherto fashionable Cremorne Gardens.

Many of the local streets were demolished during 1969/70 to clear the area for the building of the World’s End Estate. Along with Raasay Street, Bifron Street, Dartrey Road, Luna Street, Seaton Street and Vicat Street all disappeared under the bulldozer.

Opposite the entrance to Raasay Street was 80 Edith Grove. On 12 July 1962, the Rolling Stones (calling themselves ’The Rollin Stone’) rented 102 Edith Grove in anticipation of their first gig at the Marquee.
»read full article


MARCH
17
2021

 

Deptford Ferry Road, E14
Deptford Ferry Road ran down to the Thames from West Ferry Road. By the 1500s, there was a ferry running from the Isle of Dogs to Deptford, with a road running down to it.

Deptford Ferry Road was squeezed between the Canadian Cooperage and the Britannia Dock - the latter was extensive used for maintenance and repairs of shipping.

After having been sawmills and a joiners’ shop, the Canadian Cooperage was the name for the works of the Guelph Patent Cask Company Ltd, comprising of a range of one- and two-storey buildings. They burned down in 1900 and were replaced by a cask store, warehouse and mill, made of corrugated-iron.

The few houses in the street were squeezed between industrial sites and had become slums by 1899.

Although plans for redevelopment drawn up in 1916 by Ironmongers’ surveyor George Hubbard, the First World War saw these put on hold.

Behind the houses, Totnes Cottages were demolished in 1936. Totnes Terrace (renamed Mast House Terrace) was destroyed by bo...
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MARCH
16
2021

 

Boscobel Place, SW1W
Boscobel Place’s name is derived from the story of Charles II. Boscobel Place is named after a pub called the Royal Oak. Boscobel Woods is Staffordshire was the scene of Charles II’s escape from the Round­heads where he hid in an oak tree. The Royal Oak in Belgravia was demolished as part of a redevelop­ment plan in 1952.

Boscobel Place was at first ’Royal Oak Place’.

The mews houses here were originally Belgravia stables giving them a contrasting design to much of the area which was largely built to the vision of Thomas Cubitt. Boscobel Place belongs to an older, more dated style of design with small, dark rooms.

Season 2 Episode 1 of BBC’s Sherlock ‘A Scandal in Belgravia’ featured Boscobel Place as a filming location; when John Watson punches Sherlock in the face.


»read full article


MARCH
15
2021

 

Aldgate, EC3N
Aldgate was the easternmost gateway through the London Wall leading from the City of London to Whitechapel and the East End. It gives its name to a City ward bounded by White Kennet Street in the north and Crutched Friars in the south, taking in Leadenhall and Fenchurch Streets, which remain principal thoroughfares through the City, each splitting from the short street named Aldgate that connects to Aldgate High Street.

It is thought that a gate at Aldgate spanned the road to Colchester in the Roman period, when London Wall was constructed. The gateway – which probably had two circular towers – stood at the corner of the modern Duke’s Place, on the east side of the City, with a busy thoroughfare passing through it. It was rebuilt between 1108 and 1147, again in 1215, and reconstructed completely between 1607 and 1609 “in a more classical and less functional style”. Like London’s other gates, Aldgate was “fortified with porticullises and chained” in 1377 due to concerns about potential attacks by the French. The gate was finally removed in 1761; it was temporarily re-erected at...
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MARCH
14
2021

 

Aaron Hill Road, E6
Aaron Hill Road is the first street alphabetically within the M25. Aaron Hill Road was built over the site of Beckton’s Tar and Liquor Works which existed north of Windor Terrace.

The coal tar and ammonia by-products industry started in the late 19th century. It was discovered that numerous organic and inorganic chemicals could be obtained when purifying coal gas.

By 1876, the Burt, Boulton and Haywood company was distilling 55,000 cubic metres of coal tar annually to manufacture ingredients for dyes, disinfectants, road tar and insecticides. It provided sulphur to local companies for such products as fertilisers.

A purpose-built chemical works, Beckton Products Works, was constructed in 1879 and was reputed to be the largest tar and ammonia by-products works in the world. Since the works was dependent on by-products of coal gas, it could not long survive the introduction of natural gas and closed in 1970.

In 1981 the London Docklands Development Corporation started transforming the site ...
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MARCH
13
2021

 

Barlby Road, W10
Barlby Road is a street in North Kensington, London W10 Barlby Road started its life as Edinburgh Road, a small cul-de-sac street with a school, running from Ladbroke Grove, beside the railway lines towards Old Oak Common.

Today the start of Edinburgh Road can still be seen in Barlby Road, but it used to be of cobbles and tarmac whereas now it is part of a small concreted car park for the occupants of houses.

In 1902, five acres of land were quickly bought for the Clement Talbot Motor Works in North Kensington. It was established in 1903 as the UK’s first purpose-built car factory. The workshops, built in brick with the latest saw-tooth roof line liberally glazed to provide the maximum natural light, were equipped with the most modern machine tools from every part of the world.

Edinburgh Road was extended to provide access to the south front of the works and it was almost immediately renamed Barlby Road.

Barlby Road was then extended to connect Ladbroke Grove with North Pole Road and Scrubs Lane, providing a through road.
»read full article


MARCH
12
2021

 

Allitsen Road, NW8
Allitsen Road is a road in St John’s Wood, dating from the 1820s. Frances Allitsen was a songwriter, best remembered for the patriotic There’s A Land, popular at the time of the Boer War.

She died in 1912 having spent part of her life at 20 Queen’s Grove, St John’s Wood, and so her name was selected when this nearby street, formerly Henry Street, was being renamed in 1938.
»read full article


MARCH
11
2021

 

Whiteley Village
Whiteley Village is a retirement village, much of it designed by the Arts and Crafts movement-influenced architect Reginald Blomfield. Whiteley Village was created as the result of a bequest of £1 000 000 realised in 1907 upon the death of William Whiteley. A major feature of Whiteley Village is that it consists of more than a hundred listed Arts and Crafts buildings.

The surrounding land on which the community is for the most part wooded and until the 19th century was wholly part of Walton Firs and Walton Heath in Walton on Thames. Hersham, of which Whiteley Village is nominally part was created in 1851 from the southern part of Walton-on Thames.

The village is owned and administered by the Whiteley Homes Trust and provides over 250 almshouses for older people of limited financial means who are capable of independent living.

Much of the design work was by architect Reginald Blomfield. This movement had been prevalent in the neighbouring area to the west - St George’s Hill - where W.G. Tarrant was a major designer-builder. Arts and Crafts remains a Whiteley Village styl...
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MARCH
10
2021

 

Macfarlane Place, W12
Macfarlane Place - a road with two lifetimes. Macfarlane Place began its life as a farm track which ran from Wood Lane to Old Oak Farm.

Supported by the Metropolitan Railway and the Great Western Railway, the Hammersmith & City Railway was built from the GWR’s main line a mile west of Paddington station to Shepherd’s Bush and Hammersmith. Built on viaduct largely across open fields, the line opened on 13 June 1864.

The viaduct crossed the farm track but as at did so, Macfarlane Place was created between it and Wood Lane.

After a 60 year hiatus, Macfarlane Place then became a new pedestrian-only street which cut through the BBC Television Centre car park after the Centre was redeveloped.
»read full article


MARCH
9
2021

 

Prince’s Square, E1W
Prince’s Square was part of an eighteenth century Swedish community. In 1682, Nicholas Barbon leased the Liberty of Wellclose, north of Wapping, from the Crown. The area east of the City had positively boomed during the seventeenth century. Formerly rural, expanded trade on the River Thames caused new communities to thrive - Wapping, Shadwell, St George-In The-East and Stepney. The neighbourhoods attracted immigrants and an increased demand for timber after the Great Fire of 1666, especially attracted Norwegians, Danes and Swedes.

In 1683, the future Queen Anne married Prince George of Denmark and his father, King Christian V, financed a new Danish Church in Wellclose Square.

The success of Wellclose Square inspired the local Swedish community to build a parallel development. Two streets to the east, Princes Square was laid out during the 1720s. The name Prince’s Square was not royal in origin but was named after an ’unpleasant’ speculator called John Prince.

Like Wellclose Square, a church was placed ...
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MARCH
8
2021

 

Cockpit Steps, SW1H
Cockpit Steps leads from Birdcage Walk to Old Queen Street. Cockpit Steps was named after connection to the former pastime of cockfighting.

The steps are the single remaining vestige of the Royal Cockpit - an 18th century venue in an inn where cock fights took place. The Royal Cockpit was aimed more towards the upper classes as it had a 5 shilling admission charge. Most towns in those days had at least one cockpit. Incidentally, the word ’cockpit’ as used in boats and planes had no reference to cockfighting, instead originally referring to an area in the rear of a ship where the cockswain’s station was located.

For some, cockfighting was an easy way to make money due to the heavy betting that inevitably went with any combat sport.

The rules were complex - books were written about the correct etiquette around the fights. This rule-based system was important for the later application to football, rugby and cricket. The large sums of money being wagered meant that cockfighting and subsequently ot...
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MARCH
7
2021

 

Blake Hall
Blake Hall station was opened by the Great Eastern Railway on 1 April 1865 and closed on 2 November 1981. Steam locomotives operated by British Railways for the Underground ran a shuttle service from Epping to Ongar, stopping at Blake Hall, from 1949 until 1957, when the line was electrified and taken over by the Underground’s Central line.

On 18 April 1966 the goods yard was closed and Blake Hall became a dedicated passenger station. On 17 October 1966, Sunday services were withdrawn.

Blake Hall became reputed as the least-used station on the entire Underground network. Fare subsidies provided on the rest of the system were not provided on this part of the line because local government agencies for Essex and London failed to agree on their respective public transport responsibilities, and Blake Hall station was located a considerable distance from any substantial settlement.

By the time services were permanently discontinued on 31 October 1981, the station was reported to have only 17 passengers per day. The station was permanently closed d...
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MARCH
6
2021

 

Church Row, N16
Church Row was nine houses in a terrace on Church Street. The original part of Stoke Newington was concentrated at the eastern end of Church Street. The western end of this street was built up mostly in the early 18th century.

Job Edwards was a carpenter who leased a section of land east of the churchyard. Edwards built the greater part of Church Row - nine houses in a terrace.

Although two of the houses had datestones of 1706 and 1709, all of Church Row was probably completed towards the end of the 1690s. Edwards, who died in 1717, also built five houses between Church Row and Edward’s Lane by 1710.

Most of the houses in Church Row had two storeys and attics, five bays, pedimented doorways, and decorative gate pillars. 8 Church Row was owned by Mrs Lardeau, a widow whose young lodger John Howard, later the 18th century prison reformer, married her and in 1755 inherited her property. In 1781-2 Church Row housed James Brown, merchant and author of a Persian dictionary. Benjamin D’Israeli, a sto...
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MARCH
5
2021

 

Gibson Gardens, N16
Gibson Gardens is a historic block of flats in Stoke Newington Gibson Gardens, at the corner of Northwold Road and Stoke Newington High Street, is now a gated estate where many modern Londoners people start on the housing ladder.

The Gibson Gardens flats were built by the ’Metropolitan Association for Improving the Dwellings of the Industrious Classes’ in 1880. They were originally called Gibson Buildings and were some of the first quality dwellings for working and lower-middle-class families in London. The development was named in honour of Thomas Field Gibson, who was a director of the Metropolitan Association from its inception.

Dr Southwood Smith is no longer a familiar name - his granddaughter Octavia Hill is far better remembered. She would have not done her work without his influence.

When Octavia Hill’s father became too ill to support his family, her grandfather, Dr Southwood Smith -a Victorian health reformer - took responsibility for the family.

Studying medicine at Edin...
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MARCH
4
2021

 

Raphael Street, SW7
Raphael Street was laid out by Lewis Raphael who bought it from former owner Durs Egg’s heirs in 1838. Lewis Raphael was a dairy farmer with a mansion and estate at Bush Hill Park, Edmonton. He was one of a rich Roman Catholic family of Armenian descent.

In 1843 Raphael signed an agreement with a builder called Edward Nangle who laid out a new road called Raphael Street from Lancelot Place to Knightsbridge Green, where it curved southwards to avoid Durs Egg’s former house.

Nangle’s building operations in Raphael Street began in 1844, with the conversion and enlargement of the old house as the Pakenham Tavern, and the erection of terraced houses along the north side of the road. Nangle became the first landlord of The Pakenham in 1848 when the pub was leased to the brewers Elliot & Watney of Pimlico.

The north side of Raphael Street was completed by 1847. Due to an economic downturn, the south side of the street was delayed with Nangle being pursued in court for debt.

A row of five shops was built in 1852 on the plots oppos...
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MARCH
3
2021

 

Hendon Central
Hendon Central tube station is on the Edgware branch of the Northern Line. Hendon Central, like all stations north from Golders Green, is a surface station (although the tracks enter twin tunnels a short distance further north on the way to Colindale). When it was built it stood in lonely glory amid fields, as one writer puts it, south of the old village of Hendon, which has since been swallowed up by London’s suburbs.

The station is a Grade II listed building, designed in a neo-Georgian style by Stanley Heaps, who also designed Brent Cross tube station in a similar style, with a prominent portico featuring a Doric colonnade.

The fact that the area was largely undeveloped allowed a hitherto unusual degree of coordination between the station and the surrounding buildings that were constructed over the next few years. The station was intended to be the centre and a key architectural feature of a new suburban town; it faces a circus 73 metres in diameter that is intersected by four approach roads which provide access t...
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MARCH
2
2021

 

St Ann’s Road, N15
St Ann’s Road was originally called Hangers Lane. In the 13th century much of the Parish of Tottenham, including the St Ann’s area, was occupied by farmland following the deforestation of areas of the Middlesex Forest. Most of the area was by then covered by open farmland, owned by a few large estates.

Between 1229 and 1264 the Hospital of St Lawrence at Clayhanger was recorded to have occupied a site on Hangers Lane.

The centuries rolled on and by the end of the 18th century, most of the woodland within the parish had been cleared and replaced by pasture and arable farmland. Hanger’s Green had been laid out as a small open space linking Hangers Lane to Black Boy Lane - this now forms part of the forecourt of Chestnuts Primary and Junior School.

Also around 1800, a cluster of houses were also developed in the area. Rose Cottage, was on the north side of Hangers Lane and was to become known as Hanger Lane Farm by 1894.

St John’s Lodge was built on the southern side of H...
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MARCH
1
2021

 

Brill Row, NW1
Brill Row was one of many small streets which became the basis for a Somers Town market. In the mid 1750s, the New Road (now Euston Road) had been built as an east-west toll road. Part of its function as a turnpike was to allow for the rapid transfer of troops, bypassing the congestion of London. The New Road was also partially designed to be a prototype green belt - containing urban growth on the London side of it.

In the area immediately to new road’s north, there was an inn called The Brill House, standing alone in fields. Not simply a rustic idyll, the pub and the area had been a location for dog fighting and bull-baiting.

Despite the good intentions of the theory of new wide roads limiting urban growth, by 1784, the first housing had jumped the bypass and was being built north of the New Road amid brick works and market gardens. It became known as Somers Town. Somers Town had been named after Charles Cocks (1725–1806), Baron Somers of Evesham. He inherited the land from John Somers (1651–1716), Lord Chancellor to King Willi...
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