Something about Charing Cross that you probably do not know

The history of London is long and turbulent, and it has been populated by thousands of characters of varying types. Today, we are going to talk about Mr. George Villiers, who was a nobleman who lived in the 17th century. In fact, he held the title of second Duke of Buckingham during his lifetime.

Villiers was a pleasant individual who enjoyed the company of women and taking part in gambling activities; however, over the course of his life, he managed to enrage a number of individuals to the point where he was thrown into the Tower of London on multiple occasions. Because he was a friend of King Charles II, he was able to obtain various favours, including freedom, whenever he was placed in prison. This happened every time.

The Villiers family has owned the renowned York House on the banks of the Thames since the time of the Tudor era. Villiers made his home in this enormous mansion. Due to the substantial amount of debt that Villiers owed, he was compelled to sell it to a builder who planned to redevelop the entire neighbourhood and, as a result, intended to knock down York House.

However, Duke Villiers did not want to lose everything and fade into obscurity, so he stipulated in the contract that the newly constructed roads must bear one of his names. This ensured that he would not be forgotten.

Because his full name was George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, he insisted on having a street named after each component of his name, including George, Villiers, Buckingham, and even of. Now, if you look at a map of the area more carefully, you will notice that there are streets in the neighbourhood that bear these names. Following their merger, Duke Street and George Court are now known as John Adam Street.

There is now something called York Place, which used to be Of Alley. In point of fact, the street sign reads “York Place” (formerly Of Alley). There are multiple references to the name York to remember York House. You can still find York Watergate, which served as the entrance to York House on the Thames and is visible if you head in the direction of the Thames, which at the time reached as far as the Strand.

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