Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H

Road in/near Covent Garden, existing between 1886 and now

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(51.51474 -0.12728) 

Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H

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Road · Covent Garden · WC2H ·
MAY
18
2018

Shaftesbury Avenue 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 and Bloomsbury.

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 to Piccadilly 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.


Main source: Shaftesbury Avenue | British History Online
Further citations and sources



Shaftesbury Avenue in Theatreland - not the WC2 part though!

Shaftesbury Avenue in Theatreland - not the WC2 part though!
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NEARBY LOCATIONS OF NOTE
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.

NEARBY STREETS
Adeline Place, WC1B Adeline Place was named after Adeline Marie Russell.
Africa House, WC2B Residential block
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.
Bainbridge Street, WC1A Bainbridge Street is a road in the WC1A postcode area
Bainbridge Street, WC1B Bainbridge Street is a road in the WC1B postcode area
Barter Street, WC1A Barter Street is one of the streets of London in the WC1A postal area.
Bateman Street, W1D Bateman Street was named for Sir James Bateman, local landowner and Lord Mayor of London in the 1670s.
Batemans Buildings, W1D Batemans Buildings is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.
Bear Street, WC2H Bear Street is a streetname with two possible derivations.
Beaumont Buildings, WC2B Beaumont Buildings is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Bedford Avenue, WC1B Bedford Avenue is one of the streets of London in the WC1B postal area.
Bedford Chambers, WC2E Bedford Chambers is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Bedford Square, WC1B Bedford Square was designed as a unified architectural composition in 1775-6 by Thomas Leverton.
Betterton Street, WC2H Betterton Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Bloomsbury Place, WC1B Bloomsbury Place is one of the streets of London in the WC1B postal area.
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.
Bloomsbury Street, WC1B Bloomsbury Street is one of the streets of London in the WC1B postal area.
Bloomsbury Way, WC1A Bloomsbury Way is one of the streets of London in the WC1A postal area.
Bourchier Street, W1D Bourchier Street is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.
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.
Brewer Street, W1F Brewer Street is one of the streets of London in the W1F postal area.
Broad Court, WC2B Broad Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Bucknall Street, WC2H Bucknall Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Burleigh Street, WC2E Burleigh Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Bury Place, WC1A Bury Place is one of the streets of London in the WC1A postal area.
Cambridge Circus, WC2H Cambridge Circus is the intersection of Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road.
Cape Yard, E1W A street within the W1D postcode
Carlisle Street, W1D Carlisle Street is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.
Carlisle Walk, E8 Carlisle Walk is a road in the E8 postcode area
Carriage Hall, WC2E Carriage Hall is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Castlewood House, WC1A Residential block
Catherine Street, WC2E Catherine Street runs from Russell Street in the north to Aldwych in the south.
Catton Street, WC1R Catton Street is one of the streets of London in the WC1R postal area.
Central Arcade, WC2E Central Arcade is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Centre Point House, WC2H Residential block
Chapone Place, W1D Chapone Place is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.
Charing Cross Mansions, WC2H Charing Cross Mansions is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Charing Cross Road, WC2H Charing Cross Road is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Ching Court, WC2H Ching Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Clare Market, WC2E This is a street in the WC2E postcode area
Coptic Street, WC1A Coptic Street is one of the streets of London in the WC1A postal area.
Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E Covent Garden Piazza is one of the streets of London in the WC2E 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.
Covent Garden, WC2H Covent Garden is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
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.
Denman Street, W1D Denman Street is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.
Denmark Place, WC2H Denmark Place is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Denmark Street, WC2H Denmark Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Drury Lane, WC2B Drury Lane is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Dryden Street, WC2E Dryden Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Duck Lane, W1F Duck Lane is one of the streets of London in the W1F postal area.
Dudley Court, WC2H Dudley Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Dyott Street, WC1A Dyott Street is one of the streets of London in the WC1A postal area.
Earlham Street, WC2H Earlham Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Earnshaw Street, WC2H Earnshaw Street was at first called Arthur Street.
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.
Evelyn Yard, W1T Evelyn Yard is a road in the W1T postcode area
Excel Court, WC2H Excel Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Exeter Street, WC2E Exeter Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Falconberg Court, W1D Falconberg Court is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.
Falconberg Mews, W1D Falconberg Mews runs off of Sutton Row.
Fisher Street, WC1R Fisher Street is one of the streets of London in the WC1R postal area.
Flaxman Court, W1F Flaxman Court is a road in the W1F postcode area
Flichcroft Street, WC2H Flichcroft Street is a road in the WC2H postcode area
Flitcroft Street, WC2H Flitcroft Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Floral Street, WC2E Floral Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Frith Street, W1D Frith Street is named after Richard Frith, a local builder.
Galen Place, WC1A Galen Place is one of the streets of London in the WC1A postal area.
Garrick Street, WC2E Garrick Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Gerrard Place, W1D Gerrard Place is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.
Gerrard Street, W1D Gerrard Street is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.
Gilbert Place, WC1A Gilbert Place is one of the streets of London in the WC1A postal area.
Goslett Yard, W1D Goslett Yard is a road in the W1D postcode area
Goslett Yard, WC2H Goslett Yard is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Grape Street, WC2H Grape Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Great Chapel Street, W1F Great Chapel Street is one of the streets of London in the W1F postal area.
Great Newport Street, WC2H Great Newport Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Great Queen Street, WC2B Great Queen Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Great Windmill Street, W1F Great Windmill Street has had a long association with music and entertainment, most notably the Windmill Theatre.
Greek Court, WC2H Greek Court is a road in the WC2H postcode area
Greek Street, W1D Greek Street leads south from Soho Square to Shaftesbury Avenue.
Greens Court, W1F Greens Court is one of the streets of London in the W1F postal area.
Gresse Street, W1T Gresse Street is one of the streets of London in the W1T postal area.
Ham Yard, W1D Ham Yard is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.
Hanover Place, WC2E Hanover Place is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Hanway Place, W1T Hanway Place is one of the streets of London in the W1T postal area.
Hanway Street, W1D Hanway Street was named after Major John Hanway.
Henrietta Street, WC2E Henrietta Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
High Holborn, WC2A High Holborn is a road in the WC2A postcode 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.
Hollen Street, W1F Hollen Street is one of the streets of London in the W1F postal area.
Hopkins Street, W1F Hopkins Street is a road in the W1F postcode area
Horse and Dolphin Yard, W1D Horse and Dolphin Yard is a road in the W1D postcode area
James Street, WC2E James Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Jubilee Hall Jubilee Market, WC2E Jubilee Hall Jubilee Market is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Jubilee Market Hall Tavistock Court, WC2E Jubilee Market Hall Tavistock Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Jubilee Market, WC2E Jubilee Market is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Keeley Street, WC2B Keeley Street has a dual history
Kemble Street, WC2B Kemble Street is a road in the WC2B postcode area
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.
Kingsgate Street, WC1R Kingsgate Street ran from High Holborn to Theobald’s Road.
Langley Court, WC2E Langley Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Langley Street, WC2H Langley Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Leicester Place, WC2H Leicester Place is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Leicester Street, WC2H Leicester Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Lion Court, WC1V Lion Court is one of the streets of London in the WC1V postal area.
Lisle Street, WC2H Lisle Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Litchfield Street, WC2H Litchfield Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Little Newport Street, WC2H Little Newport Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Little Russel Street, WC1A Little Russel Street is one of the streets of London in the WC1A postal area.
Little Russell Street, WC1A Little Russell Street is one of the streets of London in the WC1A postal area.
Long Acre, WC2E Long Acre is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Macclesfield Street, W1D Macclesfield Street is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.
Macklin Street, WC2B Macklin Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Manette Street, W1D Manette Street in Soho is named after the character from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.
Maple Leaf Walk, SW11 Maple Leaf Walk is a road in the SW11 postcode area
Martlett Court, WC2B Martlett Court is a road in the WC2B postcode area
Meard Street, W1F John Meard, the younger was a carpenter, later a landowner, who developed the street.
Mercer Street, WC2H Mercer Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Monmouth Street, WC2H Monmouth Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Moor Street, W1D Moor Street is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.
Morwell Street, WC1B Morwell Street is a road in the WC1B postcode 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 Compton Street, WC2H New Compton Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
New Oxford Street, WC1A New Oxford Street was built in 1840 to ease congestion in St Giles High Street.
New Oxford Street, WC2H New Oxford Street is a road in the WC2H postcode 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.
Newton Street, WC2B Newton Street is named for Isaac Newton, scientist and mathematician.
Nottingham Court, WC2H Nottingham Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Odhams Walk, WC2H Odhams Walk is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Old Compton Street, W1D Old Compton Street is a road that runs east–west through Soho.
Parker Mews, WC2B Parker Mews is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Parker Street, WC2B Parker Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Peabody Trust Estate, SE21 Peabody Trust Estate is a road in the SE21 postcode area
Peabody Trust Estate, SE24 Peabody Trust Estate is a road in the SE24 postcode area
Peter Street, W1F Peter Street is one of the streets of London in the W1F postal area.
Phoenix Street, WC2H Phoenix Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Pied Bull Court, WC1A Pied Bull Court is one of the streets of London in the WC1A postal area.
Pied Bull Yard, WC1A Pied Bull Yard is one of the streets of London in the WC1A postal area.
Rathbone Place, W1T Rathbone Place honours Captain Rathbone who was the builder of the road and properties thereon from 1718 onwards.
Rathbone Street, W1T Rathbone Street is one of the streets of London in the W1T postal area.
Richmond Buildings, W1D Richmond Buildings is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.
Richmond Mews, W1D Richmond Mews is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.
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.
Russell Chambers, WC2E Russell Chambers is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Russell Street, WC2B Russell Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Russell Street, WC2E Russell Street is a road in the WC2E postcode area
Saint Giles High Street, WC2H This is a street in the WC2H postcode area
Saint Martin’s Court, WC2H Saint Martin’s Court is a road in the WC2H postcode area
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.
Shelton Street, WC2B Shelton Street is a road in the WC2B postcode area
Shelton Street, WC2H Shelton Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Sheraton Street, W1F Sheraton Street is one of the streets of London in the W1F postal area.
Shorts Gardens, WC2H Shorts Gardens is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Sicilian Avenue, WC1A Sicilian Avenue is a shopping parade that diagonally runs in between Southampton Row and Bloomsbury Way.
Slingsby Place, WC2E Slingsby Place is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
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.
Sounding Alley, E3 Sounding Alley is a road in the E3 postcode area
Southampton Place, WC1A Southampton Place is one of the streets of London in the WC1A postal area.
Southampton Row, WC1V Southampton Row is a road in the WC1V postcode area
Southampton Street, WC2E Southampton Street - named for Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton and landowner.
Southampton Street, WC2R Southampton Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2R postal area.
St Anne’s Court, W1F St Anne’s Court is an alleyway that connects Dean Street and Wardour Street.
St Giles High Street, WC2H St Giles High Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
St Giles House, WC2B Residential block
St Martins Court, WC2N St Martins Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2N postal area.
Stacey Street, WC2H Stacey Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Stedham Place, WC1A Stedham Place is one of the streets of London in the WC1A postal area.
Stephen Mews, W1T Stephen Mews is one of the streets of London in the W1T postal area.
Stephen Street, W1T Stephen Street is one of the streets of London in the W1T postal area.
Strand Underpass, WC2R Strand Underpass is a road in the WC2R postcode 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.
Streatham Street, WC1A Streatham Street is one of the streets of London in the WC1A postal area.
Stukeley Street, WC2B Stukeley Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Sutton Row, W1D Sutton Row has existed since 1681.
Tavistock Street, WC2B Tavistock Street is a road in the WC2B postcode area
Tavistock Street, WC2E Tavistock Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
The Arcade, WC2B The Arcade is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
The Market Piazza, WC2E The Market Piazza is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
The Market The Piazza, WC2E The Market The Piazza is one of the streets of London in the WC2E 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.
Thomas Neal Centre, WC2H Thomas Neal Centre is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Thomas Neal’s shopping centre, WC2H Thomas Neal’s shopping centre is a road in the WC2H postcode area
Tisbury Court, W1D Tisbury Court is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.
Tower Court, WC2H Tower Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Tower Street, WC2H Tower Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Townsend House, W1D Residential block
Upper St Martin’s Lane, WC2H This is a street in the WC2H postcode area
Walker’s Court, W1D Walker’s Court is one of the many passageways which in past years was known as ’Paved Alley’.
Wardour Mews, W1F Wardour Mews is a cul-de-sac off of Portland Street.
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.
Wedgewood Mews, W1D Wedgewood Mews is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.
Wedgwood Mews, W1D Wedgwood Mews is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.
Wellington Street, WC2E Wellington Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Wellington Terrace, W2 Wellington Terrace is a street in Paddington.
West Central Street, WC1A West Central Street is one of the streets of London in the WC1A postal area.
West Street, WC2H West Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Wild Court, WC2B Wild Court leads west from the Kingsway.
Wild Street, WC2B Wild Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Willoughby Street, WC1B Willoughby Street was formerly known as both Vine Street and Wooburn Street.
Winnett Street, W1D Winnett Street is one of the streets of London in the W1D postal area.


Covent Garden

From fruit and veg to Froo Tan Vetch

Covent 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.

Covent Garden 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.

Covent Garden 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's market.

Image: Chris Ross


LOCAL PHOTOS
Wild Street (1902)
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On This Day in London: 2 November
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Bilingual Wardour Street
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Gamages in the late 19th century
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Newport Court streetsign
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