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

xx
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


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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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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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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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danny currie   
Added: 30 Nov 2022 18:39 GMT   

dads yard
ron currie had a car breaking yard in millers yard back in the 60s good old days

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Lynette beardwood   
Added: 29 Nov 2022 20:53 GMT   

Spy’s Club
Topham’s Hotel at 24-28 Ebury Street was called the Ebury Court Hotel. Its first proprietor was a Mrs Topham. In WW2 it was a favourite watering hole for the various intelligence organisations based in the Pimlico area. The first woman infiltrated into France in 1942, FANY Yvonne Rudellat, was recruited by the Special Operations Executive while working there. She died in Bergen Belsen in April 1945.

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Born here
   
Added: 16 Nov 2022 12:39 GMT   

The Pearce family lived in Gardnor Road
The Pearce family moved into Gardnor Road around 1900 after living in Fairfax walk, my Great grandfather, wife and there children are recorded living in number 4 Gardnor road in the 1911 census, yet I have been told my grand father was born in number 4 in 1902, generations of the Pearce continue living in number 4 as well other houses in the road up until the 1980’s

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Born here
   
Added: 16 Nov 2022 12:38 GMT   

The Pearce family lived in Gardnor Road
The Pearce family moved into Gardnor Road around 1900 after living in Fairfax walk, my Great grandfather, wife and there children are recorded living in number 4 Gardnor road in the 1911 census, yet I have been told my grand father was born in number 4 in 1902, generations of the Pearce continue living in number 4 as well other houses in the road up until the 1980’s

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Lived here
Phil Stubbington   
Added: 14 Nov 2022 16:28 GMT   

Numbers 60 to 70 (1901 - 1939)
A builder, Robert Maeers (1842-1919), applied to build six houses on plots 134 to 139 on the Lincoln House Estate on 5 October 1901. He received approval on 8 October 1901. These would become numbers 60 to 70 Rodenhurst Road (60 is plot 139). Robert Maeers was born in Northleigh, Devon. In 1901 he was living in 118 Elms Road with his wife Georgina, nee Bagwell. They had four children, Allan, Edwin, Alice, and Harriet, born between 1863 and 1873.
Alice Maeers was married to John Rawlins. Harriet Maeers was married to William Street.
Three of the six houses first appear on the electoral register in 1904:
Daniel Mescal “Ferncroft”
William Francis Street “Hillsboro”
Henry Elkin “Montrose”

By the 1905 electoral register all six are occupied:

Daniel Mescal “St Senans”
Henry Robert Honeywood “Grasmere”
John Rawlins “Iveydene”
William Francis Street “Hillsboro”
Walter Ernest Manning “St Hilda”
Henry Elkin “Montrose”

By 1906 house numbers replace names:

Daniel Mescal 70
Henry Robert Honeywood 68
John Rawlins 66
William Francis Street 64
Walter Ernest Manning 62
Henry Elkin 60

It’s not clear whether number 70 changed from “Ferncroft” to “St Senans” or possibly Daniel Mescal moved houses.

In any event, it can be seen that Robert Maeers’ two daughters are living in numbers 64 and 66, with, according to local information, an interconnecting door. In the 1911 census William Street is shown as a banker’s clerk. John Rawlins is a chartering clerk in shipping. Robert Maeers and his wife are also living at this address, Robert being shown as a retired builder.

By 1939 all the houses are in different ownership except number 60, where the Elkins are still in residence.


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stephen garraway   
Added: 13 Nov 2022 13:56 GMT   

Martin Street, Latimer Road
I was born at St Charlottes and lived at 14, Martin Street, Latimer Road W10 until I was 4 years old when we moved to the east end. It was my Nan Grant’s House and she was the widow of George Frederick Grant. She had two sons, George and Frederick, and one daughter, my mother Margaret Patricia.
The downstairs flat where we lived had two floors, the basement and the ground floor. The upper two floors were rented to a Scot and his family, the Smiths. He had red hair. The lights and cooker were gas and there was one cold tap over a Belfast sink. A tin bath hung on the wall. The toilet was outside in the yard. This was concreted over and faced the the rear of the opposite terraces. All the yards were segregated by high brick walls. The basement had the a "best" room with a large , dark fireplace with two painted metal Alsation ornaments and it was very dark, cold and little used.
The street lights were gas and a man came round twice daily to turn them on and off using a large pole with a hook and a lighted torch on the end. I remember men coming round the streets with carts selling hot chestnuts and muffins and also the hurdy gurdy man with his instrument and a monkey in a red jacket. I also remember the first time I saw a black man and my mother pulling me away from him. He had a Trilby and pale Mackintosh so he must of been one of the first of the Windrush people. I seem to recall he had a thin moustache.
Uncle George had a small delivery lorry but mum lost touch with him and his family. Uncle Fred went to Peabody Buildings near ST.Pauls.
My Nan was moved to a maisonette in White City around 1966, and couldn’t cope with electric lights, cookers and heating and she lost all of her neighbourhood friends. Within six months she had extreme dementia and died in a horrible ward in Tooting Bec hospital a year or so later. An awful way to end her life, being moved out of her lifelong neighbourhood even though it was slums.

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Comment
   
Added: 31 Oct 2022 18:47 GMT   

Memories
I lived at 7 Conder Street in a prefab from roughly 1965 to 1971 approx - happy memories- sad to see it is no more ?

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Eve Glover   
Added: 22 Oct 2022 09:28 GMT   

Shenley Road
Shenley Road is the main street in Borehamwood where the Job Centre and Blue Arrow were located

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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.
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
Circus (restaurant) Circus is a restaurant on Endell Street.


Click here to explore another London street
We now have 525 completed street histories and 46975 partial histories
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LOCAL PHOTOS
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William Shakespeare
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Transmission
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Waterloo Bridge on an 1810 map.
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Hungerford Stairs circa 1828
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Tottenham Court Road (1927)
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In the neighbourhood...

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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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Waterloo Bridge on an 1810 map.
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Hungerford Stairs circa 1828
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Buses outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. Date of photo unknown
Credit: Stockholm Transport Museum
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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
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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.
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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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