Tottenham Court Road in London

How many times have you passed by Tottenham Court Road?

That street which starts where Oxford Street ends in the east and where Charing Cross Road ends in the north and takes you up to practically Euston station, skirting Bloomsbury to the east and Fitzrovia West.

You probably don’t know it exists, it also goes back to Queen Elizabeth’s time unlike other West End streets which only date back to the 1700s.

The street was one-way though, in fact all traffic traveled northbound until 2021 when two lanes finally arrived. Tottenham Court Road is served by three tube stations: Tottenham Court Road, Goodge Street and Warren Street. You probably don’t know that Tottenham Court Road station was originally called Oxford Street, Godge Street was Tottenham Court Road and Warren Street was Euston Road. What a mess!

This area housed a villa that was already called Tottenham Court in Queen Elizabeth’s time and gave the area its name. The name Tottenham has nothing to do with the district in the north east of the metropolis or with the football club, they are practically unrelated.

Tottenham Court Road was a thoroughfare for entertainment in centuries past.

At the time of the first census in the year 1000, the famous Domesday Book the area was called Tothele. A well-trodden medieval road, known to have lived on it by noblemen in the reign of Henry II, led from St Giles Circus to the edge of the Hampstead Hills which was then practically open fields and green spaces for grazing. Eventually it passed into the hands of the Dukes of Grafton and became a popular area for entertainment.

Towards the end of the 18th century it was developed and began to attract furniture makers over the next century: more than 100 cabinet makers in 1850.

Eventually it passed into the hands of the Dukes of Grafton and became a popular area for entertainment. On the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street was the Horseshoe Brewery, where the famous beer flood occurred in 1814.

Now starting from Oxford Street many buildings on the right belong to University College, but the majority of Tottenham Court Road is given over to shops. From about 1850 to 1950, there were dozens and dozens of furniture shops in this street.

From the end of the war electronics shops began to open and in the 1950s and 1960s London teenagers came here to find cheap record players and radios. You can still find electronic products at competitive prices, but furniture stores are making a comeback in recent years.

What is on Tottenham Court Road?

At 31 Tottenham Court Road, UFO opened in 1966, the first psychedelic club in the United Kingdom and the first club in London to stay open all night. It was the height of the avant-garde then and was frequented by Pink Floyd among others. Lasting only a year, it closed in 1967 after police found marijuana.

Note Heal’s and Habitat which are housed in a magnificent art deco style building. In front of this building you can see small public gardens which house a large mural created in 1980 in the style of Diego Rivera.

As part of his major redesign of Tottenham Court road station in 1984, Scottish sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi (despite the name he was born and raised in Scotland) particularly featured Charing Cross Road in his mosaic, with saxophones to symbolize the music trade Of Denmark Streetand cows and chickens to symbolize the fast foods that were then growing like mushrooms.

Shopping on Tottenham Court Road

Now Tottenham Court Road is part of the West Endalthough not really part of Theatreland is nearby and has a theatre: the Dominion Theatre. Though it had been an entertainment street in centuries past and even as recently as the 1960s, it is now less geared towards nighttime entertainment. The growth of e-commerce has reduced the importance of electronics retailing in this area and the cafes and chain stores such as Primark have become more widespread.

Among the shops that you can find in Tottenham Court Road we mention Natuzzi and Calligaris which sell Italian furniture, the majority of shops are part of chains that are found everywhere such as Waterstones, Specsavers, Oasis etc. etc, remains The House of Computers from the days when people came here to buy electronic products.

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