was named after Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, Victorian politician and philanthropist.
In his London and Westminster Improved, published in 1766, John Gwynn suggested that a new street should be formed from the top of the Haymarket
to Oxford Street
and beyond. After the formation of Regent Street
the need for further improvement in north-south communication in this part of Westminster was recognised in 1838 by the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Metropolis Improvements. The committee was concerned at the volume of traffic from Paddington and Euston Stations that might be expected to converge upon the east end of Oxford Street
, and it recommended an improved line of street from St. Giles’s to Charing Cross
This need was later filled by the formation of Charing Cross
Road, but the committee made no recommendation on communication between Piccadilly
In the 1860s and 70s the need for improved communication between Piccadilly Circus
and Charing Cross
, and between Charing Cross
and Tottenham Court Road
was frequently discussed, but little more was heard of the Piccadilly
to Bloomsbury route until 1876. By that time a long line of improved east-west communication from Shoreditch to Bloomsbury was almost complete, and the Metropolitan Board of Works realised that the amount of additional traffic which would be brought into Oxford Street
and which would make its way towards Charing Cross
would require the formation of direct communication from Oxford Street
and to Charing Cross
. The Board therefore applied to Parliament for the necessary powers, which were granted by the Metropolitan Street Improvements Act, 1877.
This Act authorised the Board to form the streets now known as Charing Cross
Road and Shaftesbury Avenue
, to widen Coventry Street
, and to carry out nine other improvements in various parts of London. The line of these new streets had been drawn up jointly by the Board’s superintending architect, George Vulliamy, and the engineer, Sir Joseph Bazalgette, and the plans approved by the Act defined the limits of deviation within which each street must run and within which the Board was empowered to purchase all the ground that it might require. About half the length of the new street from Piccadilly Circus
to Bloomsbury was formed by widening existing streets, thus keeping to a minimum the amount of ground to be acquired.
Nearly ten years elapsed between the passing of the Act of 1877 and the opening of the two streets, the general standard of design of the buildings finally erected was deplorable, and in 1888 a Royal Commission was appointed to investigate the dishonest conduct of certain of the Board’s officers in the disposal of surplus land in Shaftesbury Avenue
The delay in the formation of the two streets was caused by the obligation which was placed by Parliament upon the Board to provide housing for all displaced members of the slums which had previously been here.
The street from Piccadilly
to Bloomsbury was opened in January 1886 and in in the following month the Board named it Shaftesbury Avenue
, in memory of the recently deceased seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, much of whose work for the poor of London had been done in the area traversed by the new street. Charing Cross
Road was opened in February 1887.
Shaftesbury Avenue in Theatreland - not the WC2 part though!
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Admiral Duncan The Admiral Duncan is well-known as one of Soho’s oldest gay pubs. British Museum station British Museum was a station on the Central line, located in Holborn and taking its name from the nearby British Museum in Great Russell Street. De Hems De Hems has become a base for London’s Dutch community, serving bitterballen and frikandellen. Garrick Yard Garrick Yard, together with the more familiar Garrick Street to the northeast of here, both took their names from the Garrick Club which commemorates the famous 18th century actor, David Garrick. Leicester Square Leicester Square, while indeed a square, is also the name for a tube station. L’Escargot L’Escargot is one of London’s oldest restaurants. Archer Street, W1D Archer Street was Arch Street in 1675, Orchard Street in 1720 and Archer Street by 1746. Arne Street, WC2E Arne Street was named after the 18th century composer Thomas Arne, who was born near here. Bateman Street, W1D Bateman Street was named for Sir James Bateman, local landowner and Lord Mayor of London in the 1670s. Bedford Square, WC1B Bedford Square was designed as a unified architectural composition in 1775-6 by Thomas Leverton. Bloomsbury Street, WC1A Bloomsbury Street runs from Gower Street in the north to the junction of New Oxford Street and Shaftesbury Avenue in the south. Bow Street, WC2B Bow Street was first developed by Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford in 1633. Bow Street, WC2B Bow Street was built in the shape of a bow between 1633 and 1677. Brewer Street, W1D Brewer Street runs west to east from Glasshouse Street to Wardour Street. Broad Court, WC2B Broad Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area. Bury Place, WC1A Bury Place is one of the streets of London in the WC1A postal area. Ching Court, WC2H Ching Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area. Covent Garden, WC2E Covent Garden, is the name of a district, but also the name of the central square which formerly hosted a fruit-and-vegetable market. Cranbourn Street, WC2H Cranbourne Street was named after local landowner the Earl of Salisbury, Viscount Cranbourn (Cranbourne) after the town in Dorset. Crown Court, WC2B Crown Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area. Dansey Place, W1D Dansey Place is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area. Dean Street, W1D Dean Street is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area. Drury Lane, WC2B Drury Lane is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area. Duck Lane, W1F Duck Lane is one of the streets of London in the W1F postal area. East Street, TW8 East Street is one of the streets in the Twickenham postal district. 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. Excel Court, WC2H Excel Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area. Galen Place, WC1A Galen Place is one of the streets of London in the WC1A postal area. Great Windmill Street, W1F Great Windmill Street has had a long association with music and entertainment, most notably the Windmill Theatre. Greens Court, W1F Greens Court is one of the streets of London in the W1F postal area. Ham Yard, W1D Ham Yard is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area. Hanway Place, W1T Hanway Place is one of the streets of London in the W1T postal area. High Holborn, WC2B High Holborn is a road which is the highest point in the City of London - 22 metres above sea level. Hog Lane, WC2H Hog Lane was a lane that went from St Giles’ leper hospital (set up in the 12th century) to the monument to Eleanor at Charing Cross. Kemp’s Court, W1F Kemp’s Court is situated in the heart of Berwick Street Market where a line of stalls stretch down both sides of the road. King Street, WC2E King Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area. Lion Court, WC1V Lion Court is one of the streets of London in the WC1V postal area. Long Acre, WC2E Long Acre is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area. Manette Street, W1D Manette Street in Soho is named after the character from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Meard Street, W1F John Meard, the younger was a carpenter, later a landowner, who developed the street. Moor Street, W1D Moor Street is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area. Museum Street, WC1A Museum Street is so-named since it approaches the main entrance of the British Museum. Neal Street, WC2H Neal Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area. Neals Yard, WC2H Neals Yard is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area. New Row, WC2N New Row is one of the streets of London in the WC2N postal area. Newport Court, WC2H Newport Court was laid out approximately on the site of the courtyard of Newport House. Newport Place, W1D Newport Place was named after Mountjoy Blount, Earl of Newport (Isle of Wight), who owned a house on Newport Street in the 17th century. Odhams Walk, WC2H Odhams Walk is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area. Parker Mews, WC2B Parker Mews is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area. Peter Street, W1F Peter Street is one of the streets of London in the W1F postal area. Rathbone Place, W1T Rathbone Place honours Captain Rathbone who was the builder of the road and properties thereon from 1718 onwards. Romilly Street, W1D Romilly Street is a small street that runs behind Shaftesbury Avenue and takes its name from lawyer Samuel Romilly. Rose Street, WC2E Rose Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area. Royalty Mews, W1D Royalty Mews is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area. Rupert Court, W1D Rupert Court was named for Prince Rupert of the Rhine, the First Lord of the Admiralty when the court was built in 1676. Rupert Street, W1D Rupert Street – after Prince Rupert of the Rhine, noted 17th century general and son of Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of King James I. Seven Dials, WC2H Seven Dials was built on the site of the Cock-and-Pie Fields, named for a nearby inn. Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D Shaftesbury Avenue is a major street in the West End of London, named after Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. Sicilian Avenue, WC1A Sicilian Avenue is a shopping parade that diagonally runs in between Southampton Row and Bloomsbury Way. Smiths Court, W1D Smiths Court is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area. Soho Square, W1D In its early years, Soho Square was one of the most fashionable places to live in London. Soho Street, W1D Soho Street is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area. Stephen Mews, W1T Stephen Mews is one of the streets of London in the W1T postal area. Strand, WC2A Strand is one of the streets of London in the WC2A postal area. Strand, WC2N Strand is one of the streets of London in the WC2N postal area. Strand, WC2R Strand (or the Strand) runs just over 3⁄4 mile from Trafalgar Square eastwards to Temple Bar, where the road becomes Fleet Street inside the City of London. The Arcade, WC2B The Arcade is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area. The Market, WC2E The Market is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area. The Piazza, WC2E The Piazza is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area. The Strand, WC2N The Strand is one of the streets of London in the WC2N postal area. Tower Court, WC2H Tower Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area. Walker’s Court, W1D Walker’s Court is one of the many passageways which in past years was known as ’Paved Alley’. Wardour Street, W1D The part of Wardour Street south of Shaftesbury Avenue runs through London’s Chinatown. Wardour Street, W1F Wardour Street is a street that runs north from Leicester Square, through Chinatown, across Shaftesbury Avenue to Oxford Street. West Street, WC2H West Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area. Wild Street, WC2B Wild Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
From fruit and veg to Froo Tan VetchCovent Garden
is a district in London on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St. Martin's Lane and Drury Lane
It is associated with the former fruit and vegetable market in the central square, now a popular shopping and tourist site, and the Royal Opera House, which is also known as Covent Garden
. The district is divided by the main thoroughfare of Long Acre
, north of which is given over to independent shops centred on Neal's Yard and Seven Dials
, while the south contains the central square with its street performers and most of the elegant buildings, theatres and entertainment facilities, including the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
, and the London Transport Museum.
Though mainly fields until the 16th century, the area was briefly settled when it became the heart of the Anglo-Saxon trading town of Lundenwic
. After the town was abandoned, part of the area was walled off by 1200 for use as arable land and orchards by Westminster Abbey, and was referred to as 'the garden of the Abbey and Convent'. The land, now called the Covent Garden
, was seized by Henry VIII, and granted to the Earls of Bedford in 1552. The 4th Earl commissioned Inigo Jones to build some fine houses to attract wealthy tenants. Jones designed the Italianate arcaded square along with the church of St Paul's. The design of the square was new to London, and had a significant influence on modern town planning, acting as the prototype for the laying-out of new estates as London grew.
A small open-air fruit and vegetable market had developed on the south side of the fashionable square by 1654. Gradually, both the market and the surrounding area fell into disrepute, as taverns, theatres, coffee-houses and brothels opened up; the gentry moved away, and rakes, wits and playwrights moved in.
By the 18th century it had become a well-known red-light district, attracting notable prostitutes. An Act of Parliament was drawn up to control the area, and Charles Fowler's neo-classical building was erected in 1830 to cover and help organise the market. The area declined as a pleasure-ground as the market grew and further buildings were added: the Floral Hall, Charter Market, and in 1904 the Jubilee Market
. By the end of the 1960s traffic congestion was causing problems, and in 1974 the market relocated to the New Covent Garden
Market about three miles (5 km) south-west at Nine Elms. The central building re-opened as a shopping centre in 1980, and is now a tourist location containing cafes, pubs, small shops, and a craft market called the Apple Market, along with another market held in the Jubilee Hall.
tube station is a Grade II listed building and was opened by Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway on 11 April 1907, four months after services on the rest of the line began operating on 15 December 1906.
Like the rest of the original GNP&BR stations, the street level station building and platform tiling was designed by Leslie Green. The station building is a classic red 'Oxblood' building which has two elevations fronting onto the end of James Street
and Long Acre
. The platform wall was tiled with two shades of yellow and white tiling which formed geometric shapes along with three blank spaces to incorporate the station name. As part of TFL's investment programme, the ageing tiling dating back from the station's opening was replaced in 2010 in a like-for-like basis, retaining the look and feel of the platforms.
station is one of the few stations in Central London for which platform access is only by lift or stairs and often becomes congested due to the Covent Garden
area's popularity with tourists. To control congestion on Saturday afternoons, when the surrounding shopping areas are at their busiest, the station was previously exit only to avoid the risk of dangerous overcrowding of the platforms, but following replacement of the lifts, this restriction has been lifted. There are four lifts which give access to street level, although a final flight of stairs from the lifts to the platforms means that the station is wheelchair inaccessible. Alternatively, there is an emergency spiral staircase of 193 steps (The equivalent to a 15 storey building). During the lift journey a recorded announcement is played asking passengers to have their tickets/passes ready as they exit the lifts and advising where to turn for Covent Garden
Image: Chris Ross