Several bridges named London Bridge have spanned the River Thames between the City of London and Southwark, in central London. The current crossing, which opened to traffic in 1973, is a box girder bridge built from concrete and steel, it replaced a 19th-century stone-arched bridge, which in turn superseded a 600-year-old stone-built medieval structure. This was preceded by a succession of timber bridges, the first of, built by the Roman founders of London; the current bridge stands at the western end of the Pool of London and is positioned 30 metres upstream from previous alignments. The approaches to the medieval bridge were marked by the church of St Magnus-the-Martyr on the northern bank and by Southwark Cathedral on the southern shore; until Putney Bridge opened in 1729, London Bridge was the only road-crossing of the Thames downstream of Kingston upon Thames. London Bridge has been depicted in its several forms, in art and songs, including the nursery rhyme "London Bridge Is Falling Down".
The modern bridge is owned and maintained by Bridge House Estates, an independent charity of medieval origin overseen by the City of London Corporation. It carries the A3 road, maintained by the Greater London Authority; the crossing delineates an area along the southern bank of the River Thames, between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, designated as a business improvement district. The abutments of modern London Bridge rest several metres above natural embankments of gravel and clay. From the late Neolithic era the southern embankment formed a natural causeway above the surrounding swamp and marsh of the river's estuary. Between the embankments, the River Thames could have been crossed by ford when the tide was low, or ferry when it was high. Both embankments the northern, would have offered stable beachheads for boat traffic up and downstream – the Thames and its estuary were a major inland and Continental trade route from at least the 9th century BC. There is archaeological evidence for scattered Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age settlement nearby, but until a bridge was built there, London did not exist.
A few miles upstream, beyond the river's upper tidal reach, two ancient fords were in use. These were aligned with the course of Watling Street, which led into the heartlands of the Catuvellauni, Britain's most powerful tribe at the time of Caesar's invasion of 54 BC; some time before Claudius's conquest of AD 43, power shifted to the Trinovantes, who held the region northeast of the Thames Estuary from a capital at Camulodunum, nowadays Colchester in Essex. Claudius imposed a major colonia on Camulodunum, made it the capital city of the new Roman province of Britannia; the first London Bridge was built by the Romans as part of their road-building programme, to help consolidate their conquest. The first bridge was a Roman military pontoon type, giving a rapid overland shortcut to Camulodunum from the southern and Kentish ports, along the Roman roads of Stane Street and Watling Street. Around 55 AD, the temporary bridge over the Thames was replaced by a permanent timber piled bridge and guarded by a small garrison.
On the high, dry ground at the northern end of the bridge, a small, opportunistic trading and shipping settlement took root and grew into the town of Londinium. A smaller settlement developed at the southern end of the bridge, in the area now known as Southwark; the bridge was destroyed along with the town in the Boudican revolt, but both were rebuilt and Londinium became the administrative and mercantile capital of Roman Britain. The upstream fords and ferries remained in use but the bridge offered uninterrupted, mass movement of foot and wheeled traffic across the Thames, linking four major arterial road systems north of the Thames with four to the south. Just downstream of the bridge were substantial quays and depots, convenient to seagoing trade between Britain and the rest of the Roman Empire. With the end of Roman rule in Britain in the early 5th century, Londinium was abandoned and the bridge fell into disrepair. In the Anglo-Saxon period, the river became a boundary between the emergent, mutually hostile kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex.
By the late 9th century, Danish invasions prompted at least a partial reoccupation of the site by the Saxons. The bridge may have been rebuilt by Alfred the Great soon after the Battle of Edington as part of Alfred's redevelopment of the area in his system of burhs, or it may have been rebuilt around 990 under the Saxon king Æthelred the Unready to hasten his troop movements against Sweyn Forkbeard, father of Cnut the Great. A skaldic tradition describes the bridge's destruction in 1014 by Æthelred's ally Olaf, to divide the Danish forces who held both the walled City of London and Southwark; the earliest contemporary written reference to a Saxon bridge is c.1016 when chroniclers mention how Cnut's ships bypassed the crossing, during his war to regain the throne from Edmund Ironside. Following the Norman conquest in 1066, King William I rebuilt the bridge; the London tornado of 1091 destroyed it damaging St Mary-le-Bow. It was repaired or replaced by King William II, destroyed by fire in 1136, rebuilt in the reign of Stephen.
Henry II created a monastic guild, the "Brethren of the Bridge", to oversee all work on London Bridge. In 1163 Peter of Colechurch and Warden of the bridge and its Brethren, supervised the bridge's last rebuilding in timber. After the murder of his erstwhile friend and opponent Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, the penitent King Henry II commissioned a new stone bridge in place of the old, with a chapel at its centre d
The River Lea originates in the Chiltern Hills and flows southeast through east London where it meets the River Thames, the last looping section being known as Bow Creek. It is one of the easternmost major tributary of the Thames, its valley creates a long chain of marshy ground along its lower length, much of, used for gravel and mineral extraction and industry. Much of the river has been canalised to provide a navigable route for boats into eastern Hertfordshire, known as the Lee Navigation. While the lower Lea remains somewhat polluted, its upper stretch and tributaries, classified as chalk streams, are a major source of drinking water for London. A diversion known as the New River, opened in 1613, abstracts clean water away from the lower stretch of the river for drinking, its origins in the Chilterns contribute to the extreme hardness of London tap water. The name of the River Lea was first recorded in the 9th century, although is believed to be much older. Spellings from the Anglo-Saxon period include Ligan in 880 and Lygan in 895, in the early medieval period it is Luye or Leye.
It seems to be derived from a Celtic root lug-meaning'bright or light', the derivation of a name for a deity, so the meaning may be'bright river' or'river dedicated to the god Lugus'. A simpler derivation may well be the Brythonic word cognate with the modern Welsh "Li" pronounced "Lea" which means a flow or a current; the spelling Lea predominates west of Hertford, but both spellings are used from Hertford to the River Thames. The Lee Navigation was established by Acts of Parliament and only that spelling is used in this context; the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority uses this spelling for leisure facilities. However, the spelling Lea is used for road names and other infrastructure in the capital, such as Leamouth, Lea Bridge, the Lea Valley Walk and the Lea Valley Railway Lines; this spelling is used in geology, etc. to refer to the Lea Valley. The divergent spellings of the river are reflected in place-names, including Leagrave, the suburb of Luton where the source of the river is located, of Luton and Leyton: both mean "farmstead on the River Lea".
The source is said to be at Well Head inside Waulud's Bank at Leagrave, but there the River Lea is fed by Houghton Brook, a stream that starts 2 miles further west in Houghton Regis. The river flows through Luton, Welwyn Garden City, to Hertford where it changes from a small shallow river to a deep canal at Hertford Castle Weir, which flows on to Ware, Stanstead Abbotts, Broxbourne, Waltham Abbey, Enfield Lock, Ponders End, Chingford, Walthamstow, Upper Clapton, Hackney Wick, Bromley-by-Bow, Canning Town and Leamouth where it meets the River Thames, it forms the traditional boundary between the counties of Middlesex and Essex, was used for part of the Danelaw boundary. It forms part of the boundary between Essex and Hertfordshire. For much of its distance the river runs as a boundary to the Lee Valley Park. Between Tottenham and Hackney the Lea feeds Tottenham Marshes, Walthamstow Marshes and Hackney Marshes. In their early days, Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient played their matches as football amateurs on the Marshes.
South of Hackney Wick the river's course is split, running completely in man made channels flowing through an area, once a thriving industrial zone. Inside Greater London below Enfield Lock the river forms the boundary with the former Royal Small Arms Factory, now known as Enfield Island Village, a housing development. Just downstream the river is joined by the River Lee Flood Relief Channel; the man-made, concrete-banked watercourse is known as the River Lee Diversion at this point as it passes to the east of a pair of reservoirs: the King George V Reservoir at Ponders End/Chingford and William Girling Reservoir at Edmonton known collectively as the Chingford Reservoirs. At Tottenham Hale there is a connected set of reservoirs, it passes the Three Mills, a restored tidal mill near Bow. In the Roman era, Old Ford, as the name suggests, was the ancient, most downstream, crossing point of the River Lea; this was part of a pre-Roman route that followed the modern Oxford Street, Old Street, through Bethnal Green to Old Ford and thence across a causeway through the marshes, known as Wanstead Slip.
The route continued through Essex to Colchester. At this time, the Lea was a wide, fast flowing river, the tidal estuary stretched as far as Hackney Wick. Evidence of a late Roman settlement at Old Ford, dating from the 4th and 5th centuries, has been found. Somewhere between 878 and 890 the Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum was drawn up that amongst other things used the course of the Lea to define the border between the Danes and the English. In 894, a force of Danes sailed up the river to Hertford, in about 895 they built a fortified camp, in the higher reaches of the Lea, about 20 miles north of London. Alfred the Great saw an opportunity to defeat the Danes and ordered the lower reaches of the Lea drained, at Leamouth; this left the Danes' boats stranded, but increased the flow of the river and caused the tidal head to move downriver to Old Ford. In 1110, wife of Henry I, reputedly took a tumble at the ford, on her way to B
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
Matilda of Scotland
Matilda of Scotland christened Edith, was Queen of England as the first wife of King Henry I. She acted as regent of England in the absence of her spouse on several occasions. Matilda was the daughter of the English princess Saint Margaret and the Scottish king Malcolm III, she was descended from Alfred the Great. At the age of about six Matilda was sent with her sister to be educated in a convent in southern England, where her aunt Cristina was abbess, it is not clear. In 1093, when she was about 13, she was engaged to an English nobleman when her father and brother Edward were killed in a minor raid into England, her mother died soon after. In Scotland a messy succession conflict followed between Matilda's uncle Donald III, her half-brother Duncan II and brother Edgar until 1097. Matilda's whereabouts during this no doubt difficult period are uncertain, but after the suspicious death of William II of England in 1100 and accession of his brother Henry I, Matilda's prospects improved. Henry moved to propose to her.
It is said that he knew and admired her, she may indeed have spent time at the English court. Edgar was now secure on the Scottish throne, offering the prospect of better relations between the two countries, Matilda had the considerable advantage of Anglo-Saxon royal blood, which the Norman dynasty lacked. There was a difficulty about the marriage. Matilda and Henry married in late 1100, they had two more who died young. Matilda led a literary and musical court, but was pious, she was "a women of exceptional holiness, in piety her mother's rival, in her own character exempt from all evil influence." She embarked on building projects for the church, took a role in government when her husband was away. Matilda lived to see her daughter Matilda become Holy Roman Empress but died two years before the drowning of her son William. Henry remarried, but had no further legitimate children, which caused a succession crisis known as The Anarchy. Matilda is buried in Westminster Abbey and was fondly remembered by her subjects as "Matilda the Good Queen" and "Matilda of Blessed Memory".
There was an attempt to have her canonized, not pursued. Matilda was born around 1080 in Dunfermline, the daughter of the Scottish king Malcolm III and the Anglo-Saxon princess Saint Margaret, she was christened Edith, with the Anglo-Norman prince Robert Curthose standing as godfather at the ceremony. The English queen Matilda of Flanders was present at the baptismal font and served as her godmother. Edith pulled at Queen Matilda's headdress, seen as an omen that the infant would be queen one day; the Life of St Margaret, Queen of Scotland was written for Matilda by Turgot of Durham. It refers to her relationship with her mother. In it, Margaret is loving mother, she did not spare the rod when it came to raising her children in virtue, which the author presupposed was the reason for the good behaviour Matilda and her siblings displayed, Margaret stressed the importance of piety. When she was about six years old and her sister Mary were sent to Romsey Abbey, near Southampton in southern England, where their maternal aunt Cristina was abbess.
During her stay at Romsey and, some time before 1093, at Wilton Abbey, both institutions known for learning, the Scottish princess was much sought-after as a bride. Hériman of Tournai claimed, her education went beyond the standard feminine pursuits. This was not surprising, her daughters learned English and some Latin, were sufficiently literate to read St. Augustine and the Bible. In 1093, her parents betrothed Edith to Lord of Richmond, one of her numerous suitors. However, before the marriage took place, her father entered into a dispute with William Rufus. In response, he marauded the English king's lands where he was surprised by Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumbria and killed along with his son, Edward. Upon hearing of her husband and son's death, Queen Margaret died on 16 November. Edith was now an orphan, she was abandoned by her betrothed who ran off with a daughter of Harold Godwinson, Gunhild of Wessex. However, he died. Edith had left the monastery by 1093, when Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote to the Bishop of Salisbury ordering that the daughter of the King of Scotland be returned to the monastery that she had left.
She did not return to Wilton and until 1100, is unaccounted for in chronicles. After William II's death in the New Forest in August 1100, his brother, Henry seized the royal treasury and crown, his next task was to marry and Henry's choice was Matilda. Because Matilda had spent most of her life in a convent, there was some controversy over whether she was a nun and thus canonically ineligible for marriage. During her time at Romsey Abbey, her maternal aunt Cristina, forced her to wear the veil. Henry sought permission for the marriage from Archbishop Anselm, who returned to England in September 1100 after a long exile. Professing himself unwilling to decide so weighty a matter on his own, Anselm called a council of bishops in order to determine the canonical legality of the proposed marriage. Matilda testified that she had never taken holy vows, insisting that her parents
Old Street is a street in central and east London that runs west to east from Goswell Road in Clerkenwell, in the London Borough of Islington, via St Luke's and Old Street Roundabout, to the crossroads where it meets Shoreditch High Street, Kingsland Road and Hackney Road in Shoreditch in the London Borough of Hackney. The nearest London Underground station is Old Street on the Northern line, it is on the National Rail Northern City Line. The western part of Old Street, the area in central London, is inside the boundary of the Central London Congestion Charging Zone. Old Street was recorded as Ealdestrate in about 1200, le Oldestrete in 1373; as befits its name there are some suggestions. It lies on the route of an old Roman or pre-Roman track connecting Silchester and Colchester, skirting round the walls of Londinium, today the areas known as the City of London; the western part was widened between 1872 and 1877. At the east end of Old Street there is a notable deviation of the line of the street as it joins the old Roman Road north to York.
This deviation is visible on old maps but unexplained, is today fronted by Shoreditch Town Hall and the former Shoreditch Magistrates Court. Together with St Leonard's, Shoreditch at the east end of Old Street, this was the civic hub of the former Metropolitan Borough of Shoreditch; the eastern half of the road is on the London Inner Ring Road and forms part of the boundary of the London congestion charge zone. Old Street and the surrounding areas of Hoxton Square and Great Eastern Street host a thriving night life; the street and its adjacent areas have attracted IT and tech companies, both established and start-ups, Old Street Roundabout, located at the junction with City Road, has been dubbed Silicon Roundabout. Old Street station is located under the roundabout. With the increase in passenger numbers using the station, in 2014 Transport for London announced that it was to offer pop-up retail space there as part of a drive to increase its revenue. Within the past few years Old Street has become a favoured location for notable graffiti artists such as Banksy and Jef Aérosol.
Banksy has featured several pieces on "Shoreditch Bridge". Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner London: North. London: Penguin Books. Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert "Old Street" in The London Encyclopedia. Old Street is served by these bus routes: 55: Leyton, Bakers Arms - Oxford Circus 243: Wood Green - Waterloo N55: Woodford Wells - Oxford Circus 205: Paddington - Bow church station 214: Liverpool Street - Hampstead laneAlso 242, 271
Leyton is a district of east London and part of the London Borough of Waltham Forest, located 6.2 miles north-east of Charing Cross in the United Kingdom. It borders Walthamstow and Leytonstone in Waltham Forest, Stratford in the London Borough of Newham and Homerton and Lower Clapton in the London Borough of Hackney; the district includes part of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which hosted the 2012 Olympic Games, as well as Leyton Orient Football Club, although it is predominantly residential. It consists of terraced houses built between 1870 and 1910, interspersed with some modern housing estates. Leyton is in the river forming its western boundary; the area rises from low-lying marshland along the river Lea to over 90 feet at Whipps Cross on the southern edge of Epping Forest. Leyton is bisected by the A12, with most of the district lying on the north-west side of this busy traffic artery through east London; the High Road Leyton bridge crossing the A12 offers some of the best views in London of the Olympic Park, which borders the district, as well as of skyscrapers further west.
It borders Walthamstow along Lea Bridge Road and areas of the London Borough of Hackney via the River Lea. Paleolithic implements and fossil bones show. A Roman cemetery and the foundations of a Roman villa have been found here. From Anglo-Saxon times, Leyton has been part of the County of Essex; the name means "settlement on the River Lea" and was known until 1921 as "Low Leyton". In the Domesday Book, the name is rendered as Leintun. at which time the population was 43. The ancient parish church of St Mary the Virgin was rebuilt in the 17th Century; the parish of Leyton included Leytonstone. The old civil parish was formed into an Urban District within Essex in 1894 and it gained the status of Municipal Borough in 1926; the parish and urban district were known as Low Leyton until 1921. In 1965, the Municipal Borough of Leyton was abolished and was combined with that of Walthamstow and Chingford to form the London Borough of Waltham Forest, within the new county of Greater London. Although Leyton did not become part of London until 1965, the borough formed part of London's built-up area and had been part of the London postal district since its inception in 1856 and the Metropolitan Police District since 1839.
The main route through the town is the High Road, which forms part of the ancient route to Waltham Abbey. At the top end of the High Road is a crossroads with Lea Bridge Hoe Street; this junction and the surrounding district is known as Bakers Arms, named after the public house which has now closed down. The pub was named in honour of the almshouses on Lea Bridge Road built in 1857 by the London Master Bakers' Benevolent Institution. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Leyton was a "pretty retiring place from London" for wealthy merchants and bankers. Leyton's development from an agricultural community to an industrial and residential suburb was given impetus by the arrival of the railway. First at Lea Bridge Station in 1840 at Low Leyton in 1856. Leyton Midland Road opened in 1894, after an elevated line had been built on brick arches across the developed streets. However, not all the green spaces were lost, 200 acres of Epping Forest within Leyton's borders were preserved by the Epping Forest Act 1878.
In 1897 Leyton Urban District Council purchased the land for a formal park close to the town hall. In 1905, the "Lammas land", common pasture land on Leyton Marshes, was purchased by the council for use as a recreation ground. In World War I, about 1,300 houses were damaged by Zeppelin raids. By the 1920s, it had become a built-up and thriving urban industrial area known for manufacturing neckties and for its Thermos factory. During the Blitz of World War II, Leyton suffered as a target because of its proximity to the London Docks and Temple Mills rail yard; the yard is now reduced in size as part of it has become a retail park'Leyton Mills', whilst the rest has been renovated to serve as a depot for high-speed Eurostar trains. After World War Two, Leyton suffered from large-scale industrial decline in the second half of the 20th century. But, like much of east London, which borders the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, has benefited from significant regeneration projects over the past decade. Parks have been spruced up, some new small parks and gardens created and several tower blocks have been demolished.
The millennium was marked with a clock tower in the Lea Bridge Rd area and a major piece of street art at Baker's Arms. And, most in the build-up to the Olympics, Waltham Forest Borough Council spent £475,000 restoring 41 shopfronts on the part of Leyton High Road closest to the 2012 London Olympic Games site; the Olympics authority funded the smartening up of pavements and street furniture. Leyton, which comprises three electoral wards with a total population of 42,061, is a diverse district. Between 61 and 69 per cent of its residents are either Black, Asian, or from an ethnic minority, according to the London Borough of Waltham Forest profile reports for the Leyton, Grove Green and Lea Bridge wards; this compares to 55.1% in the Borough as a whole, according to the United Kingdom Census 2011. Within these groups, there are many people whose origins are from Russia, North Africa, Nigeria, Ireland, Portugal and Italy as well as newer arrivals from South Africa, Bosnia and Poland. Moreover, more
Oxford Street is a major road in the City of Westminster in the West End of London, running from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch via Oxford Circus. It is Europe's busiest shopping street, with around half a million daily visitors, as of 2012 had 300 shops, it is designated as part of the A40, a major road between London and Fishguard, though it is not signed as such, traffic is restricted to buses and taxis. The road was part of the Via Trinobantina, a Roman road between Essex and Hampshire via London, it was known as Tyburn Road through the Middle Ages when it was notorious for public hangings of prisoners in Newgate Prison. It became known as Oxford Road and Oxford Street in the 18th century, began to change from residential to commercial and retail purposes by the late 19th century, attracting street traders, confidence tricksters and prostitution; the first department stores in Britain opened in the early 20th century, including Selfridges, John Lewis and HMV. Unlike nearby shopping streets such as Bond Street, it has retained an element of downmarket trading alongside more prestigious retail stores.
The street suffered heavy bombing during World War II, several longstanding stores including John Lewis were destroyed and rebuilt from scratch. Despite competition from other shopping centres such as Westfield Stratford City and the Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Oxford Street remains in high demand as a retail location, with several chains hosting their flagship stores on the street, has a number of listed buildings; the annual switching on of Christmas lights by a celebrity has been a popular event since 1959. As a popular retail area and main thoroughfare for London buses and taxis, Oxford Street has suffered from traffic congestion, a poor safety record and pollution. Various traffic management schemes have been implemented by Transport for London, including a ban on private vehicles during daytime hours on weekdays and Saturdays, improved pedestrian crossings. Oxford Street runs for 1.2 miles. It is within the City of Westminster; the road begins at St Giles Circus as a westward continuation of New Oxford Street, meeting Charing Cross Road, Tottenham Court Road.
It runs past Great Portland Street, Wardour Street and Rathbone Place to Oxford Circus, where it meets Regent Street. From there it continues past New Bond Street, Bond Street station and Vere Street, ending on Marble Arch; the road is within the London Congestion Charging Zone. It is part of the A40, most of, a trunk road running from London to Fishguard. Like many roads in Central London that are no longer through routes, it is not signposted with that number. Numerous bus routes run along Oxford Street, including 10, 25, 55, 73, 98, 390 and Night Buses N8, N55, N73, N98 and N207. Oxford Street follows the route of a Roman road, the Via Trinobantina, which linked Calleva Atrebatum with Camulodunum via London and became one of the major routes in and out of the city. Between the 12th century and 1782, it was variously known as Tyburn Road, Uxbridge Road, Worcester Road and Oxford Road. On Ralph Aggas' "Plan of London", published in the 16th century, the road is described as "The Waye to Uxbridge" followed by "Oxford Road", showing rural farmland where the junction of Oxford Street and Rathbone Place now is.
Though a major coaching route, there were several obstacles along it, including the bridge over the Tyburn. A turnpike trust was established in the 1730s to improve upkeep of the road, it became notorious as the route taken by prisoners on their final journey from Newgate Prison to the gallows at Tyburn near Marble Arch. Spectators jeered as the prisoners were carted along the road, could buy rope used in the executions from the hangman in taverns. By about 1729, the road had become known as Oxford Street. Development began in the 18th century after many surrounding fields were purchased by the Earl of Oxford. In 1739, a local gardener, Thomas Huddle, built property on the north side. John Rocque's Map of London, published in 1746, shows urban buildings as far as North Audley Street, but only intermittent rural property beyond. Buildings were erected on Davies Street in the 1750s. Further development occurred between 1763 and 1793; the Pantheon, a place for public entertainment, opened at No. 173 in 1772.
The street became popular for entertainment including bear-baiters and public houses. However, it was not attractive to the middle and upper classes due to the nearby Tyburn gallows and the notorious St Giles rookery, or slum; the gallows were removed in 1783, by the end of the century, Oxford Street was built up from St Giles Circus to Park Lane, containing a mix of residential houses and entertainment. The site of the Princess's Theatre that opened in 1840 is now occupied by Oxford Walk shopping area. Oxford Circus was designed as part of the development of Regent Street by the architect John Nash in 1810; the four quadrants of the circus were designed by Sir Henry Tanner and constructed between 1913 and 1928. Oxford Street changed in character from residential to retail towards the end of the 19th century. Drapers and furniture stores opened shops on the street, some expanded into the first department stores. Street vendors sold tourist souvenirs during this time. A plan in Tallis's London Street Views, published in the late 1830s, remarks that all the street, save for the far western end, was retail.
John Lewis started in 1864 in small shop at No. 132, wh