London Street Names

Street Names - Henry I stipulated that a street could not be named as such unless it was paved and was wide enough for sixteen knights to ride abreast.
A Lane had only to be the width of a beer barrel rolled by two men.

  • Addle Hill
  • E.C.4
    Here once stood the Saxon Royal Palace of King Athelstan (Adelstan).
  • Albemarle Street
  • W.1
    Takes its name from the second Duke of Albermarle, son of General Monk.
  • Aldermanbury
  • E.C.2
    Saxon name for Eldermen (elder statesmen) Bury (home or house) stood where now stands Guild Hall.
  • Aldersgate
  • E.C.1
    From the Roman gate for the Elders that led to the north and Scotland.
  • Aldgate
  • E.1
    The Oldest Roman gate that lead to the East and Roman town of Colchester.
  • Aldwych W.C.2

  • Saxon name meaning Ald (Old) Wic (Village).
  • Amen Court
  • E.C.4
    Below the cross of Saint Pauls, Where in medievil times were held processions, with rosaries calling "Amen".
  • Andre Street
  • E.8
    After Major John Andre, hanged wrongfully as a spy in 1780 in the American war of Independance. He was born in Pond house, Clapton.
  • Andrew Borde Street
  • W.C.2
    Named after Andrew Borde, Andrew Boorde, Doctor Boord, a physician and holy man who was no doubt a learned physician (quack) he was imprisoned in the Fleet, where he made his will on 9 April 1549. Andrew Borde was also the last Master of St Giles Lepers' Hospital, which stood on the corner of this street from 11th to 16th century.
  • Arnold Circus E.1
    Named after Sir Arthur Arnold, an alderman in the late 19th century.
  • Balls Pond Road
  • N.1
    At the end of the seventeenth centuary, on John Ball's land , was a pond well stocked with fowl for the gentlemen visiting his tavern to shoot.
  • Battersea S.W.11

  • Westminster monks from St Peters used the place for convalescent homes, the name was Patricsey Island, (St peter's Island).
  • Baker Street W.1

  • A street in the City of Westminster that is most famous for its connection to the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, a fictional detective of the late 19th and early 20th century, created by British author and physician Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes was said to have lived at 221B Baker Street (an upper-storey flat at 221 Baker Street; in early notes it was described as Upper Baker Street), where he spent many of his professional years with his friend and colleague Dr. Watson. , who lived at 221B Baker Street. The street takes its name from the builder William Baker who laid the street out in the 18th century.
  • Bayswater W.2

  • The name is a corruption of Bayards Water, a former well that stood in Hyde Park.
  • Bell Yard W.C.2

  • A small lane off the Stand where once stood the Bell hostel that was owned by the Knights Templar. Nearby land being used for training for the defence of the holy lands of Palestine.
  • Berkley Square W.1

  • The Square was made in 1698 from the gardens of Berkley House, the home of Lord Berkley of Stratton, whose name lives on also in Stratton Street off the Square.
  • Bermondsey Street S.E.1

  • Towards the southern end of the Street, once stood a Priory or Abbey of St. Saviours called Bermond’s Eye in Southwark, founded by Alwin Childe, in the year 1081. The Street as well as the area became known as Bermondsey.
  • Berners Street W.1

  • Josias Berners bought a small estate close to Hanway Street, his ancestor William Berners between 1750 - 1763 built what is today Berners Street.
  • Bevis Marks E.C.4

  • Named after a large house and gardens belonging to the Abbots of Bury in Suffolk with the house being called Buries Markes, Corrupted to Bevis Marks.
  • Billiter Street E.C.3

  • Once home to a medieval Bell Foundry, Billiter from the ancient French word for 'Bell Founder'.
  • Birchin Lane
  • E.C.3
    The builder and owner of houses in this lane was Birchervere.
  • Black Prince Road
  • S.E.1
    Edward III gave his son Edward the Black Prince 1330-76 the manor of Vauxhall and Kennington.
  • Bloomsbury Street/Place/Way
  • W.C.1
    The name Bloomsbury is derived from a William Blemund, who was Lord of the Manor at the time of Henry III. After passing through several hands it came into the possession of Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, the Patron of Shakespeare. It passed to his granddaughter, Lady Rachel, who by her marriage to William, Lord Russell, brought it into the Bedford Familly, who have supplied much of the nomrnclature of the district.
  • Bond Street W.1

  • Sir Thomas Bond a property developer from Peckham laid out a number of streets in this part of the west end.
  • Britton Street E.C.1

  • Named after Thomas Britten a 17th century coalman who had a great opera voice who performed with Mr Handel in nearby Jerusalem Passage and created the first musical concerts in England.
  • Byward Street E.C.3

  • From a byword, password spoken to Beefeaters from the nearby Tower of London.
  • Carlton Gardens S.W.1

  • Designed by John Nash and built in 1830. at Number 2 Lord K itchner would turn up for work each day in full field marshal's uniform. It was here one day that he devised his first world war poster, with the famous slogan, 'Your Country Needs You.'
  • Chancery Lane E.C.1

  • Called New Street and running down from the north of Holborn, with the residence of important officers of state, renamed Chancellor's Lane, becoming known as Chancery Lane.
  • Chenies Street W.C.1
  • Takes its name from the Buckinghamshire village where since 1556, the Russell family have been buried.
  • Chester Square/Street ect S.W.1

  • Named after the city of Chester.
  • Clarges Street W.1

  • Sir Thomas Clarges, an important politician who built this street that was named after him.
  • Cloth Fair E.C.1
    The narrow street named Cloth Fair, stands where the original Bartholomew Fair was held in medieval times, and runs by the side of the ancient church of St Bartholomew the Great, and some of the buildings have survived the Great Fire of London 1666, numbers 41 and 42, was built between 1597 and 1614.
  • Cold Bath Square E.C.1

  • So called from a well of cold water that stood here in fields. In 1794 a house of correction was built on these fields.
  • College Hill E.C.4

  • Named after Sir Richard Whittington's college, set up here in the early part of the fifteenth century.
  • Cons Street S.E.1

  • Emma Cons was the founder of the Roayal Victoria Coffee Music Hall, that later became known as the Old Vic.
  • Coventery Street W.C.2

  • Henry Coventry King Charles the II 's secretary of state brought a house in 1672 that he named Coventry house, the street was later named after him.
  • Crane Court, Fleet Street E.C.4

  • At the entrance to this court stood the Two Crane Inn Tavern.
  • Cromwell Road S.W.7

  • Once known as Cromwell Lane, named after one of Cromwell's sons who lived here.
  • Danvers Street S.W.3

  • Sir John Danvers, who died in 1655 and first taught us the way of Italian gardens had his mansion Danvers House that spread from the river to the Kings Road. Sir John served at the Court of Charles I, though afterwards fought for Parliament and signed King Charles's death warrant in 1649. Danvers Street was built on the site of his garden.
  • Dollis Hill/Road/ect N.W.2

  • Named after the Dollis Brook that runs from Arkley and joins up with the Mutton Brook to form the River Brent. Dollis comes from the Saxon word 'Dwllice' meaning 'erratic'.
  • Du Cane Road, East Acton

  • Edmund Du Cane, designed the Wormwood Scrubs Prison in the fields of Wormholt Scrubs, 'holt' meaning woods. The road leading to the prison takes Edmund's name.
  • Dukes Place E.C.3

  • Named after Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, beheaded in 1572.
  • Eaton Suare/place/mews ect S.W.1

  • Eaton Hall in Cheshire is the principal seat of the Duke of Westminster, owner of these streets in Westminster.
  • Eccleston Street/Square S.W.1

  • Derives its name from Eccleston in Cheshire, where the Grosvenor family own property.
  • Edgware Road N.W.2/ N,W.9/ W.2

  • This is the old Roman Road of Watling Street that ran from Dover to Chester.
  • Edwardes Square W.8

  • Derived its name from William Edwardes, 2nd Lord Kensington that was on part of his Holland House Estate.
  • Essex Road N.1

  • Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, had a country house here in the sixteenth century where he often entertained Queen Elizabeth I. The Old Queens Head pub was built on the site of his old house.
  • Exmouth Market E.C.1

  • Built on land formerly known as Spa Fields. The name celebrates Admiral Lord Exmouth (1757-1833) who distinguished himself at the battle of Lake Champlain.
  • Fetter Lane E.C.1

  • Corrupted from Fewtar’s or Fautre that was the name for a spear rest, that was made here or closes by.
  • Finsbury Pavement E.C.2

  • Named after the first pavement of firm ground in the marshy Moorfields.
  • Fouberts Place W.1

  • Named after a French man who had a riding school here in the reign of Charles II
  • Frith Street W.1
  • Richard Frith is remembered as the builder of this Soho Street.
  • Furnival’s Inn E.C.1

  • Furnival’s Inn, where Dickens later wrote Pickwick Papers, took its name from Sir Richard Furnival, who possessed two Messuages and 13 shops there during the reign of Richard II. The Prudential Assurance Company the red brick building at Holborn Bars is sprawled over what was once Furnival's Inn, the name only survives in the little street opposite.
  • George Yard E.C.3

  • Now the courtyard of Barclay's banks H.Q. Was first an ordinary house that was coverted into a public house called 'The George'. Distroyed in the great fire of 1666, becoming a public square. In the twelfth centuary, standing on the corner of Lombard street, was the house of the Earl of Ferrers, where his brother was murdered, and his body thrown onto the street.
  • Goodge Street W.1

  • Named after John Goodge a carpenter, his two nephews developed Crab Tree Fields forming Goodge Street in 1740.
  • Grafton Way W.1
    The second Duke of Grafton wanted a short cut transporting his cattle from Paddington to Islington. With a few farmers and friends he won a petition from parliament to build a turnpike along which is present day Grafton Way.
  • Gray's Inn Road W.C.1

  • John de Gray gave this land now covered by the Gray's Inn law chambers to St Bartholemew's Priory in the year 1314, and it was given that masses would be said for his soul.
  • Great Peter Street S.W.1

  • Great Peter Street bears the name of the patron saint of Westminster Abbey. St Peter at Westminster is the formal name of Westminster Abbey. At a house on the corner of Great Peter Street and Tufton Street, once resided, the notorious Colonel Blood, who tried to steal the Crown Jewels and Regalia from the Tower of London. From Tufton Street to Millbank Great Peter Street was at one time called Wood Street, as our picture insert shows.

    Old street sign of Wood Street, Westminster - showing the former name of the southside of Great Peter Street. Picture courtesy of Jack, taken from scaffolding.
  • Great Turnstile W.C.1

  • In the 17th century, there stood a revolving barrier that did allow pedestrians to pass from Holborn into Lincolns Inn Fields.
  • Gun Street E.1

  • Gunners at the Tower made their weekly repairs here on the former artillery ground.
  • Half Moon Sreet
  • W.1
    Deriving its name from a long lost tavern, renown for its considerable repute.
  • Halkin Street S.W.1

  • The name comes from Halkin Castle in Flintshire.
  • Hallam Street W.1

  • Takes its name from the historian Henry Hallam who lived close by at No. 67 Wimpole Street.
  • Hanging Sword Alley E.C.4

  • John Stow says, ‘Then is Water Lane, running down, by the west side of a house called the Hanging Sword, to the Thames.’ Stow remarks can certainly be traced back to the 1560's and the Alley was probably here long before that, when it was known as Ouldwood Alley and formed part of the Bishop of Salisbury's estate.
  • Hanway Street/Place W.1

  • Near here lived the heroic Hanway, the first man to use an umbrella.
  • Harrowby Street W.1

  • Remembers Dudley Ryder, Ist Earl of Harrowby
  • Henriques Street E.1

  • Once named Berner Street with the name changed after Jack the Rippers third victim, and subsequently named after Sir Basil Henriques.
  • Holland Street S.E.1

  • In 1630 Elizabeth Holland (Madam Holland) opened her first-class brothel establishment Hollands Leaguer, on the site now covered by Hopton Street and Holland Street. The brothel was surrounded by a moat, gatehouse and drawbridge with plesant walks alongside trees and shrubberies in what was once Paris Gardens House; covering the area now known as Paris Gardens.
  • Honor Oak S.E.5

  • At the summit of this road there was a tree known as the Oak of Honour, where Queen Elizabeth 1 on one of her excursions on horse back from Greenwich, dined beneath its shade. Many years later the oak was struck by lightning, and was replaced by a succesor.
  • Horseferry Road S.W.1

  • The point where an ancient horse ferry took passengers from Thorney Island (Westminster) to Lamb Hythe (Lambeth) Where Lambeth bridge now stands. King James the II fleeing London threw the Great seal into the Thames at this point and was picked up by the Horse ferryman in 1688.
  • Judd Street W.C.1

  • Takes its name from Sir Andrew Judd, Lord Mayor, 1551-2, "erected one notable free schoole at Tonbridge in Kent" he was a land owner of St Pancras. Thus kentish names like Tonbridge Street in the area.
  • Kings Cross N.1

  • The Station at Kings cross took it's name from the statue of George the IV that was at the cross road with Pentonville Road and Grays Inn Road.
  • Kings Road S.W.1

  • Once an old footpath through fields taken over by Charles II, as his own private road leading him to Richmond Palace.
  • Lambeth S.E.1

  • Original name was Lambhythe, Hythe being a Dock where lambs were transported.
  • Lamb's Conduit Street W.C.1

  • In Henry VIII's time there was a Kentish man named William Lamb who built "a faire conduit" in Holborn where there was spring water as clear as crystal. The water was carried along in lead pipes from the north fields for more than two thousand yards at his own cost of more than fifteen hundred pounds. The conduit was removed in 1746, but Lamb's name remains at the end of the street were his conduit once stood.
  • Lant Street S.E.1

  • Derives its name from the Lant family who inherited the estates known as Southwark Olace which was formerly in the possesion of Heath, Archbishop of York.
  • Lennox Gardens S.W.3

  • Named after Lord William Lennox.
  • Liverpool Street E.C.2

  • Named after the Prime Minister, Lord Liverpool. Also home to the Great Eastern Railway, one of London's largest stations.
  • Lombard Street E.C.3

  • After the Jewish moneylenders based around here were expelled from England in 1290, the Italian's from Lombard arrived here in the thirteenth-century to collect taxes due to the Pope.
  • Lots Road S.W.3

  • In 1544 it was recorded as lez lotte when the name discribed the "lots" of ground which were "originally part of the manor over which the parishoners held Lammas rights". Thus bringing the words allotments into present day word.
  • Lupus Street S.W.1

  • Named after Hugh Lupus Earl of Chester.
  • Marble Arch W.1

  • is a landmark structure near Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park, at the western end of Oxford Street. It was designed by John Nash in 1828, based on the triumphal arch of Constantine in Rome. It is built of white Carrara marble. It was originally erected on The Mall as a gateway to the new Buckingham Palace (rebuilt by Nash from the former Buckingham House), but was found to be too narrow for the state coach, and had to be moved in 1851 to its present location. at the north east corner of Hyde Park.
  • Mile End Road E.1

  • The first milestone from the Roman wall at Aldgate stood near to Stepney Green and the Mile End Road.
  • Milner Square N.1

  • Thomas Milner (1806-84) an active politician and friend of Disraeli and Charles Dickens owned many acres of Islington.
  • Millbank S.W.1

  • From the fourteenth centuary Westminster Abbey mill that stood at the junction of Great college street, and begun as a riverside walk from the Abbey to Chelsea.
  • Notting Hill W.11

  • Known as Knottynghull in the 14th century, to Noding Hill in 1680. The manor which stood here in the IIth century was part of the estates of the De Veres. The only street name to is Notting Hill Gate, which pass over the site of an early turnpike gate.
  • Oxford Street W.1

  • Takes its name from the road leading to oxford. Until 1725 it was known as Tyburn Road which lead to the Tyburn Hanging Tree.
  • Panton Street W.C.2

  • Colonel Thomas Panton, having made an enormous fortune out of gambling, decided never to gamble again. Instead he bought Shaver's Hall (named not from a barbers but from Lord Dunbar who lost £3,000 there at one sitting, whereon it was said a nothern lord was shaved there) which stood on the north-east corner of the Haymarket and Coventry Street, all the way down to present day Panton Street. He demolished the gambling hall to build over.
  • Pye Street S.W.1

  • Derives its name from Sir Robert Pye, member for Westminster in the time of Charles I.
  • Plough Court E.C.3

  • A tavern of the same name stood here and the poet Alexander Pope was born here in 1688.
  • Purser's Cross s.w.6

  • On the 7th of August 1738, a highwayman having commited several robberies on Finchley Common, was pursued to London. He thought he was safe in a public house in Burlington Gardens, (near Piccadilly) though it was not long before he was pursued again. He escaped by horse and rode through Hyde Park where gentlemans servants who were airing their horses did give chase, and persued him to Fulham Fields, where the Highwayman having no escape, threw money to the peasants at work in the fields, and told them 'they would soon witness the end of an unfortunate man'. He pulled out his pistol, clapped it to his ear, and shot himself. He was buried at the cross road with a stake through him, it was never discovered who he was.
  • Peter's Hill E.C.4

  • Named after the church of the same name, built in the twelfth century. Burnt in the great fire of 1666, and not rebuilt. The churchyard today is remembered by an inscription on a modern wall.
  • Peter's Lane E.C.1

  • Listed in Stow's Survay as St Peter's Lane, the church once stood close to the tavern called Cross Keys. Today a modern office block stands here but the sign lives on. Opposite the lane is the old site of Hicks Hall, the old Sessions house built by Sir Baptis Hicks in the seventeenth cenury.
  • Playhouse Yard E.C.4

  • Named after the Blackfriars theatre which stood here in Shakespeare's time and where his play's were performed.
  • Piccadilly W.1

  • The name is taken from the collar or neckerchief called a piccdil, that was made by a tailor close by in the Haymarket.
  • Pickering Place S.W.1

  • Hidden just behind Berry Brothers and Rudd is a quite and unspoilt Georgian corner of London. Built by William Pickering as a hide-a-way from his money making coffee company.
  • Pottery Lane W.11

  • takes its name from the brickfields at its northern end, where high-quality clay was dug from about 1818. The original kiln still stands and has been extended and converted into a three-bedroom house, and dates back to about 1820.
  • Praed Street W.2

  • Named after Sir William Praed, first chairman and for many years manager of the Regent Canal company.
  • Quick Street N.1

  • Recalls the favourite comedian of King George III John Quick.
  • Red Lion Square W.C.1

  • Formerly known as Red Lion Fields where in the early 17th century stood the Red Lion Inn, and it was here that Cromwell's body was dragged and rested at the Inn. It is said his decapitated head was buried somewhere under the present day square.
  • Rochester Row S.W.1

  • In 1666 the Bishop of Rochester had a house here.
  • Romilly Street W.1

  • A small side turning that runs behined Shafsbury Avenue and takes its name from the lawyer Samuel Romilly, who was successful in campaigning to abolish the death penalty for petty crimes such as theft during 1810.
  • Rotten Row S.W.1

  • A corruption of route du roi.
  • Russell Street ect W.C.1
  • See Bloomsbury.
  • Rutland Gate S.W.1

  • Takes its name from the Duke of Rutland.
  • Seven Dials W.C.2

  • The work of building Seven Dials had begun in 1693, on what was then called Cock-and-pie Fields taken from a nearby inn. Thomas Neale undertook the task of making a great junction, and, in the centre he erected a pillar with seven dials, one for each of the streets at the junction. In 1733 the pillar was taken down as there was believed to be a fortune lodged at the base, but no money was found, and the pillar was transported to Weybridge in Surrey. Good news it was returned to the original spot just a couple of years ago.
  • Southamton Buildings W.C.1

  • Here once stood the house of the 4th Earl of Southampton son of Shakespeare's patron. In 1638 he replaced the house with tenements on the land now known as Southampton Buildings, he moved to a new mansion in Bloomsbury named Southampton House, built where Southampton Place now stands. See also Bloomsbury.
  • St Johns Wood N.W.8

  • Part of the forest of Middlesex now known as St Johns Wood was in the manor of Lilestone (Lisson). It was in the reign of Edward I that a gift of the woods was made from Otho, son of William de Lileston to the Knights Templers, and later passed to the Knights Hospitallers of St Johns of Jerusalem, when it became St Johns Wood and has so remained ever since.
  • Spitalfields E.1

  • In 1197, Mr Walter Brune, a Londoner, founded in the fields just east of Bishopsgate a large hospital for poor brethren of the order of St. Austin; the surrounding pastures took the name Hospital-fields, and then the cockney slang dropping the first two letters to form the name (Ho) "Spitalfields."
  • Stafford Street W.1

  • Named after Margaret Stafford partner of developer Sir Thomas Bond who built on this site in the seventeenth century.
  • Stag Place S.W.1

  • The old brewhouse of the Westminster Abbey moved here after the dissolution of the monasteries in the sixteenth century. Later known as the Stag Brewery, was demolished in 1959,
  • Storey's Gate S.W.1

  • Abraham Storey, one of Wren's master-masons, built Storey's gate that now remembers his name.
  • Strype Street E.1

  • John Strype,the son of a Huguenot weaver, was born here in 1643. He became an antiquary, historian and a parson.
  • Tabard Street S.E.1

  • Name taken from the Tabard Inn, that was already an ancient tavern when the poet Geoffrey Chaucer and the Pilgrim Fathers left for their long journey to America. The name Tabard comes from a sleeveless coat, open on both sides, with a square collar, winged at the shoulders, commonly worn by noblemen in wars as their coat-of-arms. The sign of this tavern was this garment.
  • Tabernacle Street E.C.1

  • In 1567 this Meadow was home to three windmills and known as Windmill Hill, and it is where George Whitefield's "Tabernacle" was built by his supporters after he separated from Wesley in 1741.
  • Thavie's Inn E.C.1

  • Named after an honest man, John Thavie who was an armourer, and lived there in the time of Edward III. It was sold in 1769 and now is hardly noticeable as it forms part of Holborn Circus.
  • Throgmorton Street E.C.2

  • Corruption of the name of Nicholas Throckmorton, Elizabeth I's ambassador to France and Scotland.
  • Tokenhouse Yard E.C.2

  • Before the reign of James I, stood on this site the manufacturer of tokens that were used as the copper coinage of England.
  • Turnmill Street E.C.1

  • Shakespeare's Turnbull-Street, a well known street for harlots in his time. It was Trimullstrete in Edward III's day, with three water-mills in a graceful River Fleet setting.

    Old Street Name
    Old and New Street Signs.

    PearTree Street 1725 - reminder of the fruit trees once growing here!

    Meard Street
    1732 faded street sign when Meard Street was Meards Street

    Some street names were etched into the kerb


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