- Tottenham Court Road
Tottenham Court Road is a road in
Central London, England, running from St Giles' Circus(the junction of Oxford Streetand Charing Cross Road) north to Euston Road, near the border of the City of Westminsterand the London Borough of Camden. The road is one-way; all three lanes are northbound only.
The south end of the road is very close to the
British Museumand Centre Point, the West End's tallest building. The road is served by three stations on the London Underground- from south to north these are:
Tottenham Court Road, Goodge Street and Warren Street.
The area across which the road is built is described in the "
Domesday Book" as belonging to the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral. In the time of Henry III (1216 – 1272) a manorhouse situated slightly to the north-west of the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street belonged to one William de Tottenhall. In about the fifteenth century, the area was known variously as Totten, Totham, or Totting Hall. After changing hands several times, the manor was leased for ninety-nine years to Queen Elizabeth, when it came popularly to be called Tottenham Court. In the next century it appears to have become the property of the Fitzroys, who erected Fitzroy Squareupon a part of the manor estate towards the end of the Eighteenth century. [ [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=45208 Tottenham Court Road] in "Old and New London: Volume 4" (1878), pp. 467-480, from British History Online]
Tottenham Court Road is a significant shopping street, best known for its high concentration of
consumer electronicsshops, which range from shops specialising in cables and computer components, to shops dealing in package computers and audio-video systems. Further north there are many furnitureshops including Habitat and Heals. The road gained notoriety in 2001when the first branch in Central London of the Spearmint Rhinochain of lap-dancingclubs opened.
In the 1950s and 1960s Tottenham Court Road and a few of the adjoining streets became a mecca for
World War IIsurplus radio and electronics equipment. Shops such as Proops Brothers and "Z & I Aero Services" lined both sides of the road in those days and thousands of British youngsters traveled there to buy amplifiers, radios and electronic components. There were many stores there selling all kinds of electro mechanical and radio parts. By the 1960s they were also selling a myriad of Japanese transistor radios audio mixers and such. Many British-made valve stereos were offered too.
Opposite Habitat and Heals is an open public space called Whitefield Gardens. On the side of a house is a painting, the "Fitzrovia Mural" over 60 feet high, showing many people at work and at leisure. It was painted in 1980 in a style resembling that of
Diego Rivera. In 2005 12 so-called "Our Glass" panels were erected in the gardens. Each is about 5 feet high, with two sides showing a collageof people associated with the area, from satirical cartoonist Hogarthto singer Boy George. There is 13th panel showing an index to the people. Each panel has a title, for example "1. Whitfield Gardens and the Reverend Whitefield", "2. The Soul Catchers", "3. Hub of the Anti-Slavery campaign"... up to "12. Our Glasses Public Art Club Land".
In Popular Culture
Pink Floydplayed many early concerts at the UFO Club31 Tottenham Court Road in the 1960s.
*The road is featured briefly in "
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" by J.K. Rowlingas well as " Mrs. Dalloway" by Virginia Woolf, " Pygmalion" by George Bernard Shaw, "Saturday" by Ian McEwan, and in several " Sherlock Holmes" stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
*It is mentioned briefly as the location where 'I' was allegedly arrested for 'toilet trading' in the
1986 Bruce Robinsoncult-classic movie " Withnail and I".
*It is also featured briefly in the
2008crime film, " The Bank Job".
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