In the time of Henry III (1216–1272), a manor house slightly north-west of what is now the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Euston Road belonged to one William de Tottenhall. In about the 15th century, the area was known variously as Totten, Totham, or Totting Hall. After changing hands several times, the manor was leased for 99 years to Queen Elizabeth, and it came to be popularly called Tottenham Court.
Tottenham Court Road nowadays is a significant shopping street, best known for its high concentration of consumer electronics shops. Further north there are several furniture shops, including Habitat and Heals.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Tottenham Court Road and a few of the adjoining streets became well known for stores selling World War II surplus radio and electronics equipment and all kinds of electro-mechanical and radio parts. Shops such as Proops Brothers and Z & I Aero Services lined both sides of the road at that time. By the 1960s they were also selling Japanese transistor radios, audio mixers and other electronic gadgets. Many British-made valve stereos were offered too. Lisle Street, on the north side of Leicester Square, was another place where a large variety of electronic surplus was available.
One of the well-known stores was the furniture maker Maple & Co.
In recent years, the growth of e-commerce has reduced the importance of electronics retailing in the area. Since 2008, a number of electronics stores have closed.