Continuing my exploration of above the underground, I am now at the 7th station on the Northbound Bakerloo Line - Oxford Circus. The Central and Victoria lines also stop at this station.
Oxford Circus is at the intersection of two well known main roads - Regent Street and Oxford Street. Being one of the biggest shopping streets in Europe I wanted to see if I could find anything interesting is this area other than the shops which are a magnet for locals and residents. I divided the area into four sections. If you think of Oxford Circus at the centre of a cross, then I would be exploring South-East, North-East, North-West and South-West.
This mosaic on the corner of Brunswick Street and Carnaby Street is called 'The spirit of Soho'. Created in 1991,the lady's skirt opens out to show a map of Soho. It also includes characters such as Dickens, Karl Marx, Mozart and Casanova who frequented this part of London.
In the 1960s, Carnaby Street became famous as the centre of 'Swinging London'. Its boutiques were the only place to go if you wanted to be dressed in the height of 60s fashion. By the end of that decade it was the second most popular tourist attraction after Buckingham Palace. Today the 13 streets that make up the area still contain many independent shops as well as the flagship shops of the more well known brands.
Kingly Court, just off Carnaby street is a three storey building surrounding a courtyard featuring many different eating and drinking establishments.
Arthur liberty used a loan of £2000 from his father in law to buy the lease on half a shop at 218a Regent Street. he had 3 members of staff and in 1875 began selling fabric, ornaments and objects from the Far East. In less than two years he repaid the loan and bought the lease for the other half of the shop.
Within ten years he had bought neighbouring properties and the store had become the place to buy carpets, furnishings and fabrics.
The present store was reconstructed on Great Marlborough Street in 1924 using the timbers from two ships - HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan. Inside there is a number of small rooms surrounding the three central wells. It has a very different feel to most stores and is one of the most popular shops in London especially if you are looking for that special piece of fabric.
The diagonal pedestrian crossings at Oxford Circus.
Today this building at 120 Oxford Street is known as the Plaza Shopping Centre but in 1902 Hollingsworth and Bourne opened a shop here that was so successful they eventually took over the whole block. In 1928 they redesigned the whole block in art deco style. Despite being bombed in 1940 much of the art deco facade remains including the bronze ballerina statue.
Across the road from the Plaza is this wonderful building. I haven't been able to find out any information about its history. It is just recorded as a 'prominent Grade II listed period building of traditional brick construction behind a tiled façade'. At the moment 6 floors are used as a language school, whilst the front of the ground floor is a Virgin Media shop. I did find out though that the whole block from Nos129-135 is currently on the market for £36,000,000.
Another Victorian pub which doesn't seem to have changed a great deal over the years with its giant glass lanterns and ornate frontage.
Built around a small courtyard with the vicarage and school attached, it was designed in 1850 by William Butterfield who saw the possibilities of using coloured bricks for making buildings both decorative and functional.
Just across the road on Margaret Street is another decorative building. This used to be an institute for training clergymen. But in 1992 it became the Fo Guang Shan Temple, one of 200 temples worldwide that promote humanistic Buddhism.
At the top end of Regent Street is the art deco building, BBC Broadcasting House. The first radio broadcast was made from here in March 1932 and it is where most of the BBC radio stations are still broadcast. It was recently renovated and a new extension built.
This is the connecting wing between the old and new buildings. Although many BBC programmes are now made and transmitted from Media City in Salford, there are still programmes made here such as the daily One Show. You can see into the studio for this show on the left hand side (but not from this photo!).
The Langham Hotel, built in the 1860s was a favourite of Napoleon III, Oscar Wilde, Emperor Haile Selassie, Mark Twain, Noel Coward and Arthur Conan Doyle and has been mentioned in The Sherlock Holmes stories. It is still a very grand hotel today.
Around the corner is Chandos Street. This is Chandos House, built by the Adam family between 1769 and 1771 is a wonderful example of a Georgian townhouse. It is now used as a hotel and wedding venue.
On the same Street is the Medical Society for London. Founded in 1773 it is the oldest medical society in the UK.
This part of London is sometimes referred to as the medical quarter with many medical societies and institutions, doctors and clinics established here since the 1800s. Harley Street being renowned for its numerous private medical practitioners.
Down the road is Cavendish Square with a small green park in the centre. The park is known for the plinth in the middle of the park with no statue.
Just off the Square is Wigmore Street with the beautiful Wigmore Hall on the left, noted for being one of the best small venues for classical music due to its amazing acoustic
This shop on Dering street has been here since 1902. it is so good to see an independent shop (of which there are many in this part of Mayfair). This is a haberdashers selling a huge range of fabric, thread, buttons etc.
Sharing with Our World Tuesday'