King Street, SW1A

Road in/near Westminster, existing until 1917.

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(51.50157 -0.12674, 51.501 -0.126) 
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Road · * · SW1A ·
October
14
2021
King Street was an ancient thoroughfare between the regions of the Court and the Abbey in Westminster.

King Street ran parallel to a more modern street - Parliament Street - the southern end of Whitehall at Parliament Square

At the north end of the street was the Cockpit Gate. This was at the corner of what is now Downing Street and what was then the southern side of Whitehall Palace. It had four domed towers; on the south side were pilasters and an entablature enriched with the double rose, the portcullis, and the royal arms. At the south end of King Street was the High Gate, which is shown in one of Hollar’s etchings. The latter, which was taken down in 1723, was occupied at one time by the Earl of Rochester. Part of the land in King Street was conveyed by the Abbot of Westminster to Henry VIII when the king was enlarging Whitehall. In a side street - Gardener’s Lane - Hollar died in 1677.

King Charles I travelled down King Street on the way from Whitehall Palace to his trial at Westminster. He went back by the same route as a condemned man.

Oliver Cromwell gave his mother a suite of apartments in King Street where she lived until her death in 1654. She was devoted to her son, and lived in constant fear of hearing of his assassination. It was written in Ludlow’s Memoirs that she was quite unhappy if she did not see him twice a day, and never heard the report of a gun without calling out, "My son is shot." The house occupied by Mrs Cromwell stood a little to the north of Blue Boar’s Head Yard, on the west side of the street.

Dudley, the second Lord North, had a house in this street about 1646, notable as being the first brick-built house on it.

Owing to its narrowness and the crowded courts by which it was hemmed in on either side, King Street was among the first parts of Westminster to suffer from the plague in 1665. On its appearance so close to the gates of the royal palace, Charles II left Whitehall for Oxford.

King Street was originally dangerously narrow. Pepys noted on 27 November 1660: "To Westminster Hall; and in King Street there being a great stop of coaches, there was a falling out between a drayman and my Lord of Chesterfield’s coachman, and one of his footmen killed."

King Street was at one time noted for its coffee houses as Izaak Walton noted in "The Compleat Angler" (1676).



The southern end of King Street with "The Mitre And Dove" public house
(click image to enlarge)


At an inn in the street - the Bell Tavern - the October Club met. The club, which consisted of about 150 members, derived its name from being composed of High Church Tory country gentlemen, who when at home drank October ale. The large room in which the club assembled was adorned with a portrait of Queen Anne. After the break-up of the club, the picture was purchased by the corporation of the city of Salisbury, in whose council-chamber it may still be seen. Even in the mid-17th century the Bell tavern was regarded as an ancient establishment. The first known mention of the tavern occurs in 1465.

John Timbs states in his Curiosities of London: "near the southern end of King Street, on the west side, was Thieven (Thieves) Lane, so called as being the regular passage along which thieves were led to the Gate House prison, so that they might not escape into the Sanctuary and escape the law."

After the burning down of Whitehall Palace, it was decided to make a broader street to the Abbey, and in course of time Parliament Street was formed. King Street remained at this time though its length was considerably curtailed at the northern end by the later erection of the India and Foreign Offices.

In the nineteenth century, nearby at no.20 Duke Street, were the offices of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, Dr Bray’s Institution for Founding Libraries, the Colonial Bishoprics’ Fund, the Ladies’ Association for Promoting Female Education in India.

The Treasury Main Building was designed by John Brydon following a competition. Construction took place in two phases. The West end was completed in 1908 and the East end was completed in 1917. HM Treasury moved into the building in 1940 but its construction obliterated all traces of King Street.




Main source: Old and New London | British History Online
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CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LOCALITY

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Comment
   
Added: 2 May 2024 16:14 GMT   

Farm Place, W8
The previous name of Farm Place was Ernest St (no A)

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Tony Whipple   
Added: 16 Apr 2024 21:35 GMT   

Frank Whipple Place, E14
Frank was my great-uncle, I’d often be ’babysat’ by Peggy while Nan and Dad went to the pub. Peggy was a marvel, so full of life. My Dad and Frank didn’t agree on most politics but everyone in the family is proud of him. A genuinely nice, knowledgable bloke. One of a kind.

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Theresa Penney   
Added: 16 Apr 2024 18:08 GMT   

1 Whites Row
My 2 x great grandparents and his family lived here according to the 1841 census. They were Dutch Ashkenazi Jews born in Amsterdam at the beginning of the 19th century but all their children were born in Spitalfields.

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Wendy    
Added: 22 Mar 2024 15:33 GMT   

Polygon Buildings
Following the demolition of the Polygon, and prior to the construction of Oakshott Court in 1974, 4 tenement type blocks of flats were built on the site at Clarendon Sq/Phoenix Rd called Polygon Buildings. These were primarily for people working for the Midland Railway and subsequently British Rail. My family lived for 5 years in Block C in the 1950s. It seems that very few photos exist of these buildings.

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Steve   
Added: 19 Mar 2024 08:42 GMT   

Road construction and houses completed
New Charleville Circus road layout shown on Stanford’s Library Map Of London And Its Suburbs 1879 with access via West Hill only.

Plans showing street numbering were recorded in 1888 so we can concluded the houses in Charleville Circus were built by this date.

Source: Charleville Circus, Sydenham, London

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Steve   
Added: 19 Mar 2024 08:04 GMT   

Charleville Circus, Sydenham: One Place Study (OPS)
One Place Study’s (OPS) are a recent innovation to research and record historical facts/events/people focused on a single place �’ building, street, town etc.

I have created an open access OPS of Charleville Circus on WikiTree that has over a million members across the globe working on a single family tree for everyone to enjoy, for free, forever.

Source: Charleville Circus, Sydenham, London

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Charles   
Added: 8 Mar 2024 20:45 GMT   

My House
I want to know who lived in my house in the 1860’s.

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NH   
Added: 7 Mar 2024 11:41 GMT   

Telephone House
Donald Hunter House, formerly Telephone House, was the BT Offices closed in 2000

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LOCAL PHOTOS
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William Shakespeare
TUM image id: 1509551019
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’The Café Royal’ (1911) The huge variety of public leisure interiors – cafés, music halls and clubs among them – depicted by artists linked to the Camden Town Group reveal their enthusiasm for and direct engagement with the new entertainment and refreshment spaces of modern urban life. The leisure districts of early twentieth-century central London were safer, better lit and more easily accessible than they had been in the 1890s, and the expansion of the Underground network and the rise in motorised travel allowed many more people the opportunity to enjoy a daytrip to the city. Writing in 1902, the journalist George Sims imagined the ideal metropolitan excursion in an article entitled ‘A Country Cousin’s Day in Town’. Beginning with a trip to Madame Tussaud’s, a ride to Tower Hill on the Metropolitan Railway, and a refreshment stop at Pimm’s luncheon counter, the morning would end with a stroll around the Royal Aquarium, a visit to St James’s Hall in Piccadilly and to the nearby Egyptian Hall. The evening would commence with dinner in the artists’ room at Pagani’s, a visit to the ‘poetic and beautifully draped’ ballet at the Alhambra Theatre, a ‘long glass of lager’ in the continental style at the cosmopolitan Hotel de L’Europe with its Parisian inspired décor, and a visit to the latest moving picture show at the Palace Theatre. After catching the end of the ballet at the Empire, the evening would draw to a close with a peep into the ‘luxurious Criterion bar and American café’, a glance at the seafood display in the window of Scott’s, and a leisurely nightcap at the Café Royal ‘seated comfortably on a luxurious lounge’.
Credit: Charles Ginner (1878–1952)
TUM image id: 9532667
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In the neighbourhood...

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William Shakespeare
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Overflow of the Thames at Lambeth Stairs on Tuesday 29 January 1850. Lambeth Stairs was near to Lambeth Palace. Poor river wall maintenance meant that the area was flooded whenever there was an unusually high tide.
Credit: Illustrated London News
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Trafalgar Square was a former station on the Bakerloo Line before it combined with Strand station on the Northern Line to become the new Charing Cross underground station.
Credit: The Underground Map
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Strand stretches along the River Thames between Trafalgar Square and Aldwych
Credit: The Underground Map
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Hungerford Stairs circa 1828 Hungerford Stairs led down to the water, where landings could be made. The formation of floating piers at the quay facilitated the arrival and departure of numerous steam boats that left during the summer months every quarter of an hour, for the City, Westminster, and Vauxhall, and at other times for Greenwich and Woolwich. When Hungerford Market was sold to the South Eastern Railway, the railway company demolished the stairs, building Charing Cross railway station over the top of the site.
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Buses outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, early twentieth century
Credit: Stockholm Transport Museum
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Westminster Abbey with a procession of Knights of the Bath (1749)
Credit: Canaletto
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Trafalgar Square (1905) The steeplejack firm of W. Larkins Co Ltd. are at work cleaning Nelson’s Column for the first time since it was erected in 1843. The firm had been founded by Willliam Larkins in 1897 and he is pictured at the top next to Lord Nelson.
Licence: CC BY 2.0


The Strand frontage of Northumberland House (1752) The Percy Lion is atop the central façade and the statue of Charles I at right survives to this day The pedestrianised area in the foreground became the site of Trafalgar Square - back then it was the Royal Mews
Credit: Giovanni Canaletto
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The Adelphi Building on Savoy Place, looking north from Victoria Embankment Gardens (2018)
Credit: Wiki Commons/Acabashi
Licence: CC BY 2.0




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