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The Underground Map

MAP YEAR:1750180018301860190019502020Remove markers
Featured · * ·
November
24
2020
The Underground Map is a project which is creating street histories for the areas of London and surrounding counties lying inside the M25.

In a series of maps from the 1750s until the 1950s, you can see how London grew from a city which only reached as far as Park Lane into the post war megapolis we know today. There are now over 85 000 articles on all variety of locations including roads, houses, schools, pubs and palaces.

You can begin exploring by choosing a place from the dropdown list at the top left and then clicking Reset Location.

As maps are displayed, click on the markers to view location articles.

You can also view historical maps of London - click on the "pile of paper" control on the top right of a page's map to change to a particular decade.

Latest on The Underground Map...
Queen’s Theatre
The Queen’s Theatre is located in Shaftesbury Avenue on the corner of Wardour Street. The original plan was to name this venue ’The Central Theatre’. After a lengthy debate involving the owners, it was named The Queen’s Theatre and a portrait of Queen Alexandra was hung in the foyer.

It opened on 8 October 1907 on the corner of Shafter\sbury Avenue as a twin to the neighbouring Hicks Theatre (now the Gielgud Theatre) which had opened ten months earlier. Both theatres were designed by WGR Sprague.

In September 1940, a German bomb landed directly on the Queen’s Theatre, destroying the façade and lobby. The production at the time was Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca starring Celia Johnson, Owen Nares and Margaret Rutherford. The theatre remained closed until a ₤250,000 restoration was completed by Westwood Sons & Partners almost 20 years later. The auditorium retained its Edwardian décor while the lobbies and exterior were rebuilt in a modern style. The reconstructed theatre opened on 8 July 1959 with John Gielgud’s ...

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NOVEMBER
20
2020

 

Heath House
Heath House is a Grade II* listed historic mansion on Hampstead Heath From 1790 Heath House was the London seat of banker and philanthropist Sir Samuel Hoare. It remained in his family until the house was badly damaged in the Second World War and was sold. The branch of the Hoare family at the house were Quakers and played a significant part in philanthropy and public life. Several members of the family were also members of Parliament, including Sir Samuel Hoare, 1st Baronet who held the Norwich seat, his son Sir Samuel Hoare (Viscount Templewood) who was Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary. Edward Brodie Hoare was MP for Hampstead.

The house has been associated with Elizabeth Fry (who married into the family) and William Wilberforce with whom the Hoare family fought for abolition of slavery.

After the Second World War, after a number of years of dereliction, Heath House was bought by Donald Forrester who undertook a major renovation on the building and the grounds. It then became a Forrester family home for several years....
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NOVEMBER
16
2020

 

Maida Vale, W9
Maida Vale is the name of part of the A5 road running through northwest London and ultimately takes its name from a pub The whole area of Maida Vale belonged to the Bishop of London in 1647, when a Mrs Wheatley was tenant of a wood and of 44 acres of pasture in five closes, which lay between the high road and the Westbourne stream - this was probably the forerunner of Kilburn Bridge Farm. In 1742, when Richard Marsh was tenant, the farmhouse and its yards stood by the road close to the stream, with around 39 acres in six closes to the south and west. Kilburn Bridge Farm was worth £230 a year in 1795.

Further south, Paddington Wood and some fields of Manor House Farm abutted the Edgware Road, with fields of Parsonage Farm to the west. There were no other buildings in 1790.

Building was made possible by the Act of 1795 but for the northern part of the Bishop’s estate, the first agreements occurred in 1807.

Plots existed along Edgware Road, in Hill Field and Pond Field and as far north as Paddington Wood. Builders Francis Humbert of Marylebone and Abraham C...
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NOVEMBER
15
2020

 

St Michael’s Alley, EC3V
St Michael’s Alley was the centre of the 17th century London coffee house phenomenon The church of St Michael was in existence by 1133 and ended up in the possession of the Drapers’ Company. After a fire at the church in 1421, tenements were built along with teh creation of St Michael’s Alley, just off of Cornhill. The first coffee house in London was opened there in 1652.

Pasqua Roseé, who was a Greek Armenian, ran it as a side-business to his main profession of being valet to the businessman Daniel Edwards. Edwards was an importer of goods from the Ottomon Empire and this included coffee. Edwards had been helped in this particular import idea by Pasqua Roseé who beforehand had been a servant for a Levant merchant in Smyrna, Turkey and had there developed a taste for Turkish coffee. Before working for Daniel Edwards, Roseé - whose real name was Harutiun Vartian - had previously established a coffee house in Oxford the previous year with no discernible success. The accepted story of the creation of London’s first coffee house runs that visitors...
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NOVEMBER
14
2020

 

Northumberland House
Northumberland House was a large Jacobean townhouse in London, which was the London residence of the Percy family, the Dukes of Northumberland In the 16th century the Strand, which connects the City of London with the royal centre of Westminster, was lined with the mansions of some of England’s richest noblemen. Most of the grandest houses were on the southern side of the road and had gardens stretching down to the River Thames.

In around 1605, Henry Howard 1st Earl of Northampton cleared a site at Charing Cross on the site of a convent and built himself a mansion, which was at first known as Northampton House. It had a single central courtyard and turrets in each corner. It stood at the far western end of the Strand from around 1605 until demolished in 1874. In its later years it overlooked Trafalgar Square. The section facing the Strand was 162 feet wide.

The layout reflected medieval traditions, with a great hall as the principal room, and separate apartments for members of the household. Many of these apartments were reached from external doors in the courtyard in the style still seen...
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NOVEMBER
13
2020

 

St Paul’s Studios, W14
St Paul’s Studios was designed by Frederick Wheeler and built in 1891. The St Paul’s Studios block - so-named as it looked over the grounds of St Paul’s School - was aimed at the housing of ’bachelor artists’. These unmarried men would require a separate flat for their housekeepers and their artistic endeavours would require the large windows with natural light facing Colet Gardens. And it became so.

Frederick Wheeler designed St Paul’s Studios for fine art publisher James Fairless and much attention was put into the design with wonderful Victoria terracotta flourishes and a distinctive typeface on the signage.

The block was occupied within a year of being built by the very clientele it had been designed for - amongst others, artist William Logsdail, designer George Kruger Gray and sculptor Ruby Levick lived here.

The block looked out onto a peaceful suburban scene until the turn of the 1960s. Quiet Colet Gardens, with its milk floats and schoolchildren, fell victim to the upgraded A4 scheme whereby ...
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NOVEMBER
12
2020

 

Alan Coren Close, NW2
Alan Coren Close is named for an important contributor to Cricklewood culture. Alan Coren (1938–2007) was an English writer and satirist. He was well-known as a regular panellist on the BBC radio quiz ’The News Quiz’ and a team captain on BBC television’s ’Call My Bluff’. Coren was for almost a decade the editor of ’Punch’ magazine.

Alan Coren was born in East Barnet and educated at East Barnet Grammar School followed by Wadham College at Oxford. He studied for a doctorate in modern American literature at Yale and Berkeley.

He began his writing career by selling articles to ’Punch’ and was later offered a full-time job there. In 1966, he became Punch’s literary editor, becoming deputy editor in 1969 and editor in 1977. When Coren left Punch in 1987, he became editor of The Listener, continuing there until 1989.

In 1977, Coren was invited to be one of the regular panellists on BBC Radio 4’s then-new satirical quiz show, ’The News Quiz’. He continued until 2007.

Coren published...
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NOVEMBER
11
2020

 

Brixton
Brixton is a mainly residential area of south London with a prominent street market and substantial retail sector. The name Brixton is thought to originate from Brixistane, meaning the stone of Brixi (a Saxon lord).

Brixton marks the rise to more stable land between the marshes of North Lambeth up to the hills of Upper Norwood. The River Effra (now underground) flows from its source in Upper Norwood through Herne Hill to Brixton. At Brixton the river was crossed by low bridges for Roman roads to the south coast (now Brixton Road and Clapham Road). The main roads were connected through a network of medieval country lanes, such as Acre Lane, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton Water Lane and Lyham Road (formerly Black Lane).

At the end of the 18th century villages and settlements formed around Brixton as the original woodland was gradually reduced. The area becames covered in farmland and market gardens known especially for its strawberries.

With the opening of Vauxhall Bridge in 1816, improved access to Central London led to a process of suburban developmen...
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NOVEMBER
10
2020

 

Frying Pan Alley, E1
Frying Pan Alley is situated close to Middlesex Street and its Petticoat Lane market. Frying Pan Alley is an indication of the businesses that used to operate here.

Ironmongers and braziers used the frying pan as the emblem of their trade and they would hang a pan outside their shop so people could see what their business was. Over time, the name stuck, but the frying pans are long gone.

According to folklore, a shopper was once hit on the head by a pan here as it dropped down and nearly flattened him. From that time on, people walked by the shop on the opposite side of the path in an attempt to avoid another incident.

It is unknown so far just how old Frying Pan Alley is - but it was already appearing on the oldest detailed London-wide map - that of John Rocque in the 1750s/1760s.
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NOVEMBER
9
2020

 

Rhodes Farm
Rhodes Farm was situated on Hampstead Road. Even before the coming of the railways, London was expanding around the area of Rhodes Farm. Building had jumped over the New Road (now the Euston Road) though this road had been partly designed to limit the growth of London within it.

Nevertheless, Rhodes Farm was 20 acres in extent in the 1830s. The land was on the east of Hampstead Road, near Cardington Street and Somers Town. At that time, the countryside was open from the back of the British Museum to Kentish Town and further north.

In 1835, parliamentary permission was granted to take the London and Birmingham Railway from its proposed terminus in Chalk Farm a little further south. The Chalk Farm plans were abandoned, and the new terminal building was earmarked for a clearing called ’Euston Grove’ a patch of land which belonged to Rhodes Farm.

According to a contemporary painting, the farm survived until 1844.
»read full article


NOVEMBER
8
2020

 

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. The land on which the southern part of Endell Street is built was originally owned by William Short, who leased it to Esmé Stewart, 3rd Duke of Lennox, in 1623–24. Lennox House was built on the site which eventually passed to Sir John Brownlow who began to build from 1682.

Belton Street was created, named after the Brownlow’s country seat in Lincolnshire, Belton House.Henry Wheatley writes that the southern end of the street from Castle Street to Short’s Gardens was originally known as Old Belton Street, the northern end from Short’s Gardens to St Giles, was known as New Belton Street.

In the seventeenth century, Queen Anne is supposed to have bathed in the waters from a medical spring there at a site known as Queen Anne’s Bath.

The modern Endell Street was created according to the reforming plans of architect James Pennethorne.

Charles Lethbridge Kingsford states that the street was built in 1846 when Belton Stre...
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NOVEMBER
7
2020

 

Clifford Gardens, NW10
Clifford Gardens is a street just north of the railway at Kensal Rise. The All Souls’ estate now stretches from Kensal Green to Harlesden. Many of the houses were built by Charles Langler and Charles Pinkham in the last decade of the nineteenth century.

Their most noteworthy houses are those in Clifford Gardens built around 1897, the facades of which are decorated with quaint and curious stucco scenes. These were fashioned by an old Hampstead man employed by Langler and Pinkham.

Clifford Gardens ran originally beyond the southern boundary of the National Athletic Ground.
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NOVEMBER
6
2020

 

Lambeth North
Lambeth North is the area surrounding the Imperial War Museum. Since the 19th century North Lambeth has been one of the names to describe the area around Waterloo station and the shopping district around Lower Marsh market, which was the heart of the original Lambeth village. This area contains many business premises and nationally important locations such as St Thomas’ Hospital, the London Eye, the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Festival Hall, County Hall, Lambeth Palace, and the Imperial War Museum.

Lambeth North tube station serves the area. Designed by Leslie Green, the station was opened by the Baker Street & Waterloo Railway on 10 March 1906, with the name Kennington Road. It served as the temporary southern terminus of the line until 5 August 1906, when Elephant & Castle station was opened. The station’s name was changed to Westminster Bridge Road in July 1906 and it was again renamed, to Lambeth North, in April 1917.

At 4am on 16 January 1941, a German Satan 1800 kg genera...
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NOVEMBER
5
2020

 

Waterloo
London Waterloo station is a central London railway terminus and London Underground complex. The station is one of 18 in Britain owned and operated by Network Rail and is close to the South Bank of the River Thames. The London and South Western Railway (L&SWR) opened the station on 11 July 1848 as ’Waterloo Bridge Station’ (from the nearby crossing over the Thames) when its main line was extended from Nine Elms. The station, designed by William Tite, was raised above marshy ground on a series of arches. The unfulfilled intention was for a through station with services to the City. In 1886, it officially became Waterloo Station, reflecting long-standing common usage, even in some L&SWR timetables.

It is located in the Waterloo district of London, which was itself named after the Battle of Waterloo in which Napoleon was defeated near Brussels.

As the station grew, it became increasingly ramshackle. The original 1848 station became known as the ’Central Station’ as other platforms were added. The new platform sets were known by nicknames - the two platforms added for suburban services in 1878 were the ’Cyprus Station’, whilst ...
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NOVEMBER
4
2020

 

Victoria Tavern
The Victoria Tavern was built on the corner of Kilburn High Road and Willesden Lane in the middle of the nineteenth century. The champion prize fighter Alec Keene (whose real name was Alexander Findlay) was licensee between 1866 and 1879.

Keene fought successfully until the 1850s but then retired and like many ex-boxers, went on to manage a pub. He was at first licensee of The Three Tuns in Soho where exhibition boxing matches were held. After moving to Kilburn, Keene held boxing matches at the Victoria Tavern, situated at 205 Kilburn High Road. He also ran pigeon shooting competitions which proved popular.

Keene and his partner George Brown also provided catering for crowds at race meetings, such as the annual Barnet Fair. They set up a booth for the sale of hot joints of meat, chicken and vegetables. To round off the meal, there was "Moet’s champagne, wines and spirits, Bass’s pale ale and Guinness’s stout".

Keene died in 1881 and he was buried at Paddington Cemetery in Willesden Lane.

Irish migration to Kilburn began in the 1930s ...
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NOVEMBER
3
2020

 

Colet Gardens, W14
Colet Gardens is a shadow of its former self. Colet Gardens predated most of the urban development of the area, being previously known as Red Cow Lane. It ran through what was previously market gardens.

Colet Gardens got its name from the Renaissance scholar and Dean of St Paul’s, John Colet, who had founded St Paul’s school in 1509. St Paul’s School occupied local land and buildings in the immediate area.

Colet House, on the road, was built in 1885 and became a workplace of many artists and then a dance school. Its address changed to Talgarth Road in the 1960s when that road became part of the A4.

The line of Talgarth Road took over the southern section of Colet Gardens in 1961 and became a main road of London. The northern section of Colet Gardens remained suburban.

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NOVEMBER
2
2020

 

Blenheim Crescent, W11
Blenheim Crescent one of the major thoroughfares in Notting Hill - indeed it features in the eponymous film. Blenheim Crescent runs from Portobello Road west across Ladbroke Grove and then curls round to the south to join Clarendon Road. The section between Portobello Road and Kensington Park Road consists of shops and cafés, including at one time the Travel Bookshop that inspired the 1999 film Notting Hill; the rest of the street is residential. The odd numbers are on the south side and the evens on the north. From Ladbroke Grove west, the whole crescent is now lined with magnificent mature cherry trees.

Until the middle of the 19th century, what is now Blenheim Crescent was open country. Plans began to be developed for creating a road in the 1840s. In preparation sewers were laid at any rate at the Clarendon Road end in about 1850, and some building leases were let. But the demand for housing had collapsed and the lessees probably failed to raise the necessary finance. Nothing much further happened until the 1860s, when the last great wave of development on the Ladbroke Est...
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NOVEMBER
1
2020

 

Arnold Circus, E2
Arnold Circus lies to the north of Shoreditch. The Boundary Estate was laid out with a central raised garden with a bandstand called Arnold Circus, after the chairman of the LCC’s Main Drainage committee Arthur Arnold, which was designed to break the monotony’ of the East End’s drab terraced housing.

The Boundary Estate was the result of a major slum clearance of the 1890s. This area, called Friars Mount, was part of an area parcelled out in building leases in the early 19th and may have been named after a farmer called Fryer. It had become an area of speculative building and absentee landlords. Housing, originally cottages for weavers, had been crammed and infilled with badly built and ruinous dwellings with little drainage or water supply and grossly overcrowded inhabited by those barely able to make a living. One in every four children born here died in childhood. Its poverty and desperation drew philanthropists from the late 18th and reformers attempted to improve health and housing. The London Coun...
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