The Strand developed as a link between the settlements of the City of London and Westminster/Thorney Island.
By the 12th century it was a street of large houses with gardens running down to the Thames. Within the Savoy Conservation Area are the sites of the Savoy Palace, Salisbury House and Worcester House. The Savoy Palace, originally built in the 13th century for the Count of Savoy on land given by Henry Ill, was rebuilt many times over the centuries before the site was finally cleared in the early 19th century for the approach to Waterloo Bridge. However, the Savoy Chapel, built in 1510-16 and extensively restored in the late 19th century, survived.
The original Waterloo Bridge, built by Rennie 1811-17, was replaced in 1937-42 by a bridge to the design of Gilbert Scott.
Worcester House, another large medieval palace was redeveloped in the 17th or 18th century and is now the site of the Savoy Hotel, opened in 1889. Salisbury House was also redeveloped and the site occupied in 1886 by the Cecil Hotel, at the time the largest hotel in Europe. Only the frontage to the Strand remains; the remainder of the site was redeveloped in the 1930’s for Shell Mex House.
The most dramatic alteration to the area came in 1864-70 with the construction of the embankment wall to the Thames by Bazalgette and the creation of gardens between the wall and the original shoreline.