Strand, London

Strand, London

Infobox UK place
official_name= Strand
map_type= Greater London
region= London
country= England
london_borough= Westminster
constituency_westminster= Cities of London and Westminster
post_town= LONDON
postcode_area= WC
postcode_district= WC2
dial_code= 020
os_grid_reference= TQ3052280893
latitude= 51.511389
longitude= -0.118889
The Strand is a street in the City of Westminster, London, England. It currently starts at Trafalgar Square and runs east to join Fleet Street at Temple Bar, which marks the boundary of the City of London at this point, though its historical length has been longer than this.

Two tube stations were once named after it: the former Piccadilly line
Strand tube station, now called Aldwych but no longer in use, and the former "Strand tube station" on the Northern Line now part of Charing Cross tube station.


Etymology and use

Strand derives its name from the Old English word for "shore" or "river bank". (Swedish/Danish/Norwegian/Icelandic,Faroese, Finnish, German and Dutch have also derived their word for "beach" from the same Germanic root; many beaches in Ireland are still called "strands").

The street is popularly referred to as The Strand although the street address is actually just "Strand", hence, strictly speaking, "366 Strand" and not "366, The Strand". On the Monopoly board it is written as "Strand", while on the title deed card it is "The Strand".


The modern Strand follows the course of Akeman Street, a Roman road running parallel to the river, towards Chiswick from Roman London. [ [ "Archaeology: The Romano-British Period"] , A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 1: Physique, Archaeology, Domesday, Ecclesiastical Organization, The Jews, Religious Houses, Education of Working Classes to 1870, Private Education from Sixteenth Century (1969), pp. 64-74. Date accessed: 22 July 2008.] Together with Aldwych, it has been a major settlement area since Saxon times outside of the old Roman city walls. In the Middle Ages it became the principal route between the separate settlements of the City of London (the civil and commercial centre) and the Royal Palace of Westminster (the national political centre). In the archaeological record, there is considerable evidence of occupation to the north of Aldwych, but much along the former foreshore has been covered by rubble from the demolition of the Tudor Somerset Place, a former Royal residence, to create a large platform for the building of the first Somerset House, in the 17th century. [ [ "The Strand (southern tributaries)', Old and New London: Volume 3 (1878), pp. 63-84] accessed 22 July 2008] From the Tudor period, the area was largely rural, with the River Thames providing the principle thoroughfare, and as such Strand contained several palaces inhabited by bishops and royal courtiers:
* Durham House
* Somerset House
* Northumberland House, demolished circa 1866
* Savoy Palace, demolished 1381
* York House, Strand
* Arundel House
* Inn, or residence, of the Bishop of Carlisle [ [ "Inn of the Bishops of Carlisle"] (London Online) accessed 22 July 2008]
* Cecil House
* Suffolk HouseThese had their own "river gates" and landings directly onto the Thames. The line of buildings on the Strand only became separated from the river with the construction of the Victoria Embankment in 1865-70. This moved the river some convert|50|m|ft|1 further away. By this time, the streets had become built up, and the large houses were falling into decay; the area around the modern Aldwych becoming something of a slum and the Victorian era became a period of rebuilding.

The Strand became a newly fashionable address. Many avant-garde writers and thinkers gathered here, among them Thomas Carlyle, Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, John Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer, and the scientist Thomas Henry Huxley. "142 Strand" was the home of radical publisher and physician John Chapman [Rosemary Ashton, "142 Strand: A Radical Address in Victorian London", (2006)] (1821-1894), who not only published many of his contemporaries from this house during the 1850s, but also edited the "Westminster Review" for 42 years. The American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson was also a house guest. Virginia Woolf also writes about the Strand in several of her essays, including "Street Haunting: A London Adventure." T.S. Eliot alludes to the strand in his 1905 poem "At Graduation" and John Masefield also refers to a "jostling in The Strand" in his well-known poem "On Growing Old".


The Strand was the hub of Victorian theatre and nightlife. However, redevelopment of the East Strand and the construction of the Aldwych and Kingsway roads in the 1890s and early years of the twentieth century led to the loss of the Opera Comique, the Globe, the Royal Strand Theatre and the nearby Olympic Theatre. Other lost theatres on the Strand include the Gaiety Theatre (closed in 1939, building demolished in 1957), Terry's Theatre (converted into a cinema 1910, demolished 1923), and the Tivoli (closed 1914 and later demolished; in 1923 the Tivoli Cinema opened on the site and was closed and demolished in 1957 to make way for Peter Robinson's store).

Surviving theatres include the Adelphi Theatre, the Savoy Theatre and Vaudeville Theatre and, closely adjacent in Wellington Street, the Lyceum Theatre.

The Song

The Strand is the subject of a famous music hall song Let's All Go Down The Strand (words and music by Harry Castling and C. W. Murphy), which dilates on its merits as a place of entertainment and relaxation as compared to the Rhineland:

One night a half 'a dozen touristsSpent the night together in Trafalgar Square.A fortnight's tour on the Continent was planned,And each had his portmanteau in his hand.Down the Rhine they meant to have a picnicTil' Jones said, "I must decline--""Boys you'll be advised by meto stay away from Germany--What's the good a' going down the Rhine.""Let's All Go.....cont.Let's all go down the Strand -- Have a banana!Let's all go down the Strand!I'll be the leader, you can march behind.Come with me and see what we can find!Let's all go down the Strand -- Have a banana!Oh! What a happy land.That's the place fer fun and noise,All among the girls and boys.So let's all go down to the Strand.

Prominent buildings

* Australia House
* Bush House (whose address is "BBC World Service, Strand, London WC2B 4PH, UK" but whose main entrance is on the North side facing Aldwych and Kingsway)
* Courtauld Institute of Art (at Somerset House)
* King's College London, whose main campus (called the Strand Campus) is located off this street, next to Somerset House
* Roman Baths, Strand Lane {National Trust}
* Royal Courts of Justice
* Shell Mex House
* Simpson's-in-the-Strand
* Savoy Hotel
* Strand Palace Hotel
* The Adelphi Theatre
* Savoy Theatre
* Twinings
* 440 Strand, headquarters of Coutts & Co Bank


Two of the churches in the Strand now stand on island sites amidst the traffic. St. Clement Danes is believed to date back to the 9th century, but the present building is mainly a 17th century work by Sir Christopher Wren. St Mary-le-Strand was designed by James Gibbs and completed in 1717, to replace one demolished by Protector Somerset for building material for his adjacent Somerset House.

See also

* "Strand Magazine"
* Strand School


*Raymond Mander and Joe Mitchenson (1968) "The Lost Theatres of London". Rupert Hart-Davis.

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