Covent Garden

Underground station, existing between 1907 and now

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Underground station · Covent Garden · WC2E ·
JUNE
29
2013

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


Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence


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CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LOCALITY


Roy Batham   
Added: 7 Jan 2022 07:17 GMT   

Smithy in Longacre
John Burris 1802-1848 Listed 1841 census as Burroughs was a blacksmith, address just given as Longacre.

Source: Batham/Wiseman - Family Tree

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The Underground Map   
Added: 8 Dec 2020 00:24 GMT   

Othello takes a bow
On 1 November 1604, William Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello was presented for the first time, at The Palace of Whitehall. The palace was the main residence of the English monarchs in London from 1530 until 1698. Seven years to the day, Shakespeare’s romantic comedy The Tempest was also presented for the first time, and also at the Palace of Whitehall.

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Linda Webb   
Added: 27 Sep 2021 05:51 GMT   

Hungerford Stairs
In 1794 my ancestor, George Webb, Clay Pipe Maker, lived in Hungerford Stairs, Strand. Source: Wakefields Merchant & Tradesmens General Directory London Westminster 1794

Source: Hungerford Stairs

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TUM   
Added: 27 Aug 2022 10:22 GMT   

The Underground Map
Michael Faraday successfully demonstrated the first electrical transformer at the Royal Institute, London.

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Reg Carr   
Added: 10 Feb 2021 12:11 GMT   

Campbellite Meeting
In 1848 the Campbellites (Disciples of Christ) met in Elstree Street, where their congregation was presided over by a pastor named John Black. Their appointed evangelist at the time was called David King, who later became the Editor of the British Millennial Harbinger. The meeting room was visited in July 1848 by Dr John Thomas, who spoke there twice on his two-year ’mission’ to Britain.

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Jeff Owen   
Added: 20 Mar 2021 16:18 GMT   

Owen’s School
Owen Street is the site of Owen’s Boys’ School. The last school was built in 1881 and was demolished in the early 1990s to make way for the development which stand there today. It was a “Direct Grant” grammar school and was founded in 1613 by Dame Alice Owen. What is now “Owen’s Fields” was the playground between the old school and the new girls’ school (known then as “Dames Alice Owen’s School” or simply “DAOS”). The boys’ school had the top two floors of that building for their science labs. The school moved to Potters Bar in Hertfordshire in 1971 and is now one of the top State comprehensive schools in the country. The old building remained in use as an accountancy college and taxi-drivers’ “knowledge” school until it was demolished. The new building is now part of City and Islington College. Owen’s was a fine school. I should know because I attended there from 1961 to 1968.

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Scott Hatton   
Added: 11 Sep 2020 19:47 GMT   

Millions Of Rats In Busy London
The Daily Mail on 14 April 1903 reported "MILLIONS OF RATS IN BUSY LONDON"

A rat plague, unprecedented in the annals of London, has broken out on the north side of the Strand. The streets principally infested are Catherine street, Drury lane, Blackmore street, Clare Market and Russell street. Something akin to a reign of terror prevails among the inhabitants after nightfall. Women refuse to pass along Blackmore street and the lower parts of Stanhope street after dusk, for droves of rats perambulate the roadways and pavements, and may be seen running along the window ledges of the empty houses awaiting demolition by the County Council in the Strand to Holborn improvement scheme.

The rats, indeed, have appeared in almost-incredible numbers. "There are millions of them," said one shopkeeper, and his statement was supported by other residents. The unwelcome visitors have been evicted from their old haunts by the County Council housebreakers, and are now busily in search of new homes. The Gaiety Restaurant has been the greatest sufferer. Rats have invaded the premises in such force that the managers have had to close the large dining room on the first floor and the grill rooms on the ground floor and in the basement. Those three spacious halls which have witnessed many as semblages of theatre-goers are now qui:e deserted. Behind the wainscot of the bandstand in the grillroom is a large mound of linen shreds. This represents 1728 serviettes carried theee by the rats.

In the bar the removal of a panel disclosed the astonishing fact that the rats have dragged for a distance of seven or eight yards some thirty or forty beer and wine bottles and stacked them in such a fashion as to make comfortable sleeping places. Mr Williams. the manager of the restaurant, estimates that the rats have destroyed L200 worth of linen. Formerly the Gaiety Restaurant dined 2000 persons daily; no business whatever is now done in this direction.

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Bruce McTavish   
Added: 11 Mar 2021 11:37 GMT   

Kennington Road
Lambeth North station was opened as Kennington Road and then Westminster Bridge Road before settling on its final name. It has a wonderful Leslie Green design.

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Lived here
Julian    
Added: 23 Mar 2021 10:11 GMT   

Dennis Potter
Author Dennis Potter lived in Collingwood House in the 1970’s

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Comment
Jessie Doring   
Added: 22 Feb 2021 04:33 GMT   

Tisbury Court Jazz Bar
Jazz Bar opened in Tisbury Court by 2 Australians. Situated in underground basement. Can not remember how long it opened for.

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Lived here
Richard Roques   
Added: 21 Jan 2021 16:53 GMT   

Buckingham Street residents
Here in Buckingham Street lived Samuel Pepys the diarist, Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling

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Comment
Jude Allen   
Added: 29 Jul 2021 07:53 GMT   

Bra top
I jave a jewelled item of clothong worn by a revie girl.
It is red with diamante straps. Inside it jas a label Bermans Revue 16 Orange Street but I cannot find any info online about the revue only that 16 Orange Street used to be a theatre. Does any one know about the revue. I would be intesrested to imagine the wearer of the article and her London life.

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Born here
sam   
Added: 31 Dec 2021 00:54 GMT   

Burdett Street, SE1
I was on 2nd July 1952, in Burdett chambers (which is also known as Burdett buildings)on Burdett street

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LATEST LONDON-WIDE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT

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Richard Lake   
Added: 28 Sep 2022 09:37 GMT   

Trade Union Official
John William Lake snr moved with his family to 22 De Laune Street in 1936. He was the London Branch Secretary for the Street Masons, Paviours and Road Makers Union. He had previously lived in Orange St now Copperfield St Southwark but had been forced to move because the landlord didn’t like him working from home and said it broke his lease.
John William snr died in 1940. His son John William Lake jnr also became a stone mason and at the end of World War two he was responsible for the engraving of the dates of WW2 onto the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

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Lived here
Julie   
Added: 22 Sep 2022 18:30 GMT   

Well Walk, NW3 (1817 - 1818)
The home of Benthy, the Postman, with whom poet John Keats and his brother Tom lodged from early 1817 to Dec., 1818. They occupied the first floor up. Here Tom died Dec. 1, 1818. It was next door to the Welles Tavern then called ’The Green Man’."

From collected papers and photos re: No. 1 Well Walk at the library of Harvard University.

Source: No. 1, Well Walk, Hampstead. | HOLLIS for

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Comment
   
Added: 4 Sep 2022 15:42 GMT   

Superman 2
I worked here in 1977. The scene in the prison laundry in Superman 2 was filmed here.

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TUM   
Added: 27 Aug 2022 10:22 GMT   

The Underground Map
Michael Faraday successfully demonstrated the first electrical transformer at the Royal Institute, London.

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Admin   
Added: 26 Aug 2022 15:19 GMT   

Bus makes a leap
A number 78 double-decker bus driven by Albert Gunter was forced to jump an accidentally opening Tower Bridge.

He was awarded a £10 bonus.

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Admin   
Added: 26 Aug 2022 12:44 GMT   

The world’s first underground train
The very first underground train left Paddington on the new Metropolitan Railway bound for Farringdon Street.

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Admin   
Added: 26 Aug 2022 12:41 GMT   

Baker Street
Baker Street station opened on the Metropolitan Railway - the world’s first underground line.

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Admin   
Added: 26 Aug 2022 12:17 GMT   

TV comes to Olympia
Over 7000 people queued to see the first high definition television pictures on sets at the Olympia Radio Show. The pictures were transmitted by the BBC from Alexandra Palace, introduced by Leslie Mitchell, their first announcer.

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NEARBY LOCATIONS OF NOTE
101 Strand, WC2R This shop was one of the first in London to have gas lighting fitted.
Ackermann’s Rudolph Ackermann (20 April 1764 in Stollberg, Saxony – 30 March 1834 in Finchley) was an Anglo-German bookseller, inventor, lithographer, publisher and businessman.
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.
Houghton Street (1906) A greengrocer’s on the corner of Houghton Street and Clare Market (behind The Strand) in 1906 just before demolition.
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.
Shipley’s Drawing School 101 The Strand was an art school from 1750 until 1806.
St Giles St Giles is a district of central London, at the southern tip of the London Borough of Camden.
The Adelphi The Adelphi is a small district surrounding the streets of Adelphi Terrace, Robert Street and John Adam Street.
Wyld’s Great Globe Wyld’s Great Globe was an attraction situated in Leicester Square between 1851 and 1862.

THE STREETS OF COVENT GARDEN
Arne Street, WC2E Arne Street was named after the 18th century composer Thomas Arne, who was born near here.
Bainbridge Street, WC2H Bainbridge Street takes its name from Henry Bainbridge, a local resident in the 17th century.
Beaumont Buildings, WC2E Beaumont Buildings is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Bedford Chambers, WC2E Bedford Chambers is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Betterton Street, WC2E Betterton Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Bow Street, WC2E Bow Street was first developed by Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford in 1633.
Crown Court, WC2E Crown Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Dudley Court, WC2H Dudley Court is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Earlham Street, WC2H Earlham Street is one of the spokes leading off of Seven Dials.
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.
Floral Court, WC2E Floral Court is a location in London.
Great Queen Street, WC2B Great Queen Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Long Acre, WC2E Long Acre is one of the streets of London in the WC2E postal area.
Macklin Street, WC2B Macklin Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2B postal area.
Martlett Court, WC2E Martlett Court is a road in the WC2B postcode area
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.
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.
Newton Street, WC1V 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.
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.
Phoenix Street, WC2H Phoenix Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Seven Dials, WC2H Seven Dials was built on the site of the Cock-and-Pie Fields, named for a nearby inn.
Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H Shaftesbury Avenue was named after Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, Victorian politician and philanthropist.
Shelton Street, WC2E Shelton Street is a road in the WC2B postcode area
Shorts Gardens, WC2H Shorts Gardens is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
St. Giles Square, WC2H St. Giles Square is a location in London.
Stacey Street, WC2H Stacey Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.
Stukeley Street, WC2B Stukeley Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2B 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.
West Street, WC2H West Street is one of the streets of London in the WC2H postal area.

THE PUBS OF COVENT GARDEN
Ape and Bird This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
Circus (restaurant) Circus is a restaurant on Endell Street.
Hercules Pillar This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
Kopapa This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
New Ambassadors Theatre This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
Philomena’s This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
Secrets This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
Sway This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
The Crown This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
The Sun This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
Two Brewers This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
Unknown as yet This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
White Hart This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.


Click here to explore another London street
We now have 506 completed street histories and 46994 partial histories
Find streets or residential blocks within the M25 by clicking STREETS




LOCAL PHOTOS
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William Shakespeare
TUM image id: 1509551019
Licence: CC BY 2.0
Transmission
TUM image id: 1509553463
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Waterloo Bridge on an 1810 map.
TUM image id: 1556885410
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Hungerford Stairs circa 1828
TUM image id: 1557403389
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Tottenham Court Road (1927)
TUM image id: 1556973109
Licence: CC BY 2.0

In the neighbourhood...

Click an image below for a better view...
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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Waterloo Bridge on an 1810 map.
Licence: CC BY 2.0


Buses outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. Date of photo unknown
Credit: Stockholm Transport Museum
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Hungerford Stairs circa 1828
Licence: CC BY 2.0


The Royal Opera House, Bow Street frontage, with the statue of Dame Ninette de Valois in the foreground
Credit: Russ London
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London Hippodrome in 2017
Credit: Ethan Doyle White
Licence: CC BY 2.0


Sectional view of Wyld’s Great Globe, which stood in Leicester Square, London 1851–62
Credit: Illustrated London News
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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 front of Northumberland House (1752) The Percy Lion is atop the central façade and the statue of Charles I at right survives to this day.
Credit: Giovanni Canaletto
Licence: CC BY 2.0


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