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Streets

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  • Orange Street

    Orange Street

    The rest of Orange Street was not built until the 1690s, part of it upon the site of the stables of James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, beheaded at the age of 36 after the battle of Sedgemoor in 1685. The stables were sometimes called the Orange Mews in reference to the colour of the Monmouth coat-of-arms and to distinguish them from the nearby Green Mews and Blue Mews. The Duke’s portrait now...

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  • Pall Mall

    Pall Mall

    Pronounced by members of the aristocracy as “Pell Mell”, the street was laid out in 1661 when the horses and carts had become troublesome, interfering with the game of pall mall. Gentrymen were concerned by the dust these threw up and the King ordered that Pall Mall be constructed.Originally the street was called Catherine Street to honour Queen Catherine of Braganza but it was universally...

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  • Piccadilly Archer

    Piccadilly Archer

    In fact, the figure is not Eros but the Angel of Christian Charity: They just happen to look alike. The statue was erected in memory of the philanthropist 7th Earl Shaftesbury and the Angel of Christian Charity was thought to be fittingly symbolic of how the Earl conducted his life; championing the little people in the Houses of Parliament. That the statue is now universally known as Eros does...

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  • Portugal Street

    Portugal Street

    Historical records show that Catherine, a Roman Catholic whose dowry included Bombay and Tangier, was never popular with the people. English Conspirator Titus Oates even accused her of plotting to poison the King, however Charles protected her from these accusations.

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  • Savoy

    Savoy

    The Palace was destroyed in 1381 in the Peasant’s Revolt thanks to the huge unpopularity of John of Gaunt, Earl of Lancaster, the de facto head of government at that time. The peasants mob lead by Wat Tyler made its way through the streets of London and when they reached the Savoy Palace burnt it down. A number of the Duke’s servants were executed but some of the rebels also lost their lives...

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  • Savoy Court

    Savoy Court

    The forecourt of the Savoy, mostly occupied by hackney cabs, well-heeled patrons and doormen, is a geographical anomaly, an automotive freak show. The reason cars drive on the right, as revealed by Les the knowledgeable cabbie is that it is a throwback to days of yore when horses and carts used the street (much as taxis do today) the street was such a shape that it was impossible to turn...

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  • Seven Dials

    Seven Dials

    Seven Dials is a remnant of London’s historic estates which were often totally self contained plots. These individual vicinities now set London apart from the grandiose town-planning projects apparent in so many other cities. The case of Seven Dials is typical of the original estate development, where the lines and perimeters of the streets fall into the shape of the pre-existing rural...

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  • Shaftesbury Avenue Part I

    Shaftesbury Avenue Part I

    Since the earliest days of occupancy in London, the area where the western portion of Shaftesbury Avenue now stands was given over to the impoverished who constructed tumbledown shacks with little in the way of any comfort: no sanitation, temperamental shelter and an unimaginably low standard of living. Amongst these slum tenements, disease and crime were rife and Charles Dickens found much...

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  • Shaftesbury Avenue Part II

    Shaftesbury Avenue Part II

    In the 1750s, this part of London was in the ravages of despair, there were few jobs, the quality of life was low and the proletariat had bleak prospects. Many people turned to a cheap drug which was becoming widely available: gin. From the 1690s, parliament had encouraged distilleries because it helped to push up the price of grain which was an important crop in the colonial world. The...

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  • Southampton Street

    Southampton Street

    One day 250 years ago a lynch mob descended on 27 Southampton Street, then the residence of the famed actor and impresario David Garrick. Garrick had hired a cut-price Swiss troupe for his production of “The Chinese Festival” but had billed the dancers as French to add mystique.

    However his little subterfuge was to backfire on him. During preparations for the opening night, George II...

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