19th Century Strand: Then and Now
Stanley Gibbons's stamp shop was not the only mecca for nineteenth-century collectors, as Dr Adelene Buckland (English Department, King's College London) demonstrated at the 'Shows of London' seminar series on Monday night at King's (see http://showsoflondon.wordpress.com/). On the opposite side of the street to Gibbons's establishment, at 149 Strand, was a mineral shop from 1804-1881. Read more »
If you look across to the south side of the Strand, you can see the entrance to the original Strand Campus of King's College London.
The College was founded in 1829, and subsequently joined the University of London. The original entrance looked very different; it was a small, undemonstrative gateway off the busy nineteenth-century Strand.
Not far from the theatres, still on the north side of the Strand, is the world-famous Stanley Gibbons stamp shop.
Their website shows what the shop looked like in the late-nineteenth century, when it was at 391 Strand:
A few doors down from the Adelphi is the pretty building which houses the Vaudeville Theatre.Built in 1870, Henry Irving acted on this stage for a while, as Ronald Bergan's book The Great Theatres of London tells us.
Carrying on along the north side of the Strand, heading east towards Fleet Street and away from Trafalgar Square, we reach the Adelphi theatre.
“Adjoining the Lowther Arcade…is the Adelaide Gallery, originally intended as a place of amusement and instruction combined. It was first opened in the year 1830, and named after Queen Adelaide, the consort of William IV [and] thus cleverly sketched by the late Mr. Read more »
Shopping! This was a major activity on the Strand in the nineteenth-century, and West Strand was the site of the renowned Lowther Arcade (near where Coutts stands today):
This covered shopping area was a favoured destination for whiling away the time in bad weather. You could buy toys and other gifts here.
If we carry on walking down the Strand away from Charing Cross station, we soon see, on the north side of the street, the imposing sight of Coutts bank:
Dickens would probably be pleased to see that his old bank is still on the Strand, although it used to be on the other side of the street:
Northumberland House was one of the last survivors of the noblemen’s palaces which originally lined the Strand. It stood on the south side of Trafalgar Square at the start of the Strand, and was recognised by its distinctive lion on the top of the roof. This lion is the symbol of the Dukes of Northumberland, and its twin now stands on the gates to Syon Park in West London. It's strange to think that, before the rapid expansion of London, Syon Park would have been considered a country residence in the early nineteenth-century! Read more »
To me, Charing Cross Station is such a fixture of the western end of the Strand that is difficult to think that it is not yet 150 years old. I pass the station often when I leave the tube at Embankment on my way to King's College. In the nineteenth-century, Charing Cross was an example of industrial modernity overwriting the old city.
Charing Cross Station opened in 1864, and the hotel opened a year later. The Illustrated London News portrayed it as both a glowing symbol of modernity, and a gothic monster, lowering in the heart of the city.
Read more »