Villiers Street

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Villiers Street is a street in London connecting The Strand with The Embankment. It was built by Nicholas Bourbon in the 1670s on the site of York House, the property of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, whose name the street commemorates. A water gate in nearby Embankment Gardens is the only remnant of the mansion and shows the original position of the River Thames.[1]

John Evelyn lived here in the 17th century and the Irish writer Richard Steele, who founded The Spectator and The Tatler magazines, lodged here from 1712.[2] The Charing Cross Hospital Medical School, now a part of the Imperial College Faculty of Medicine, was founded here in 1834.[3] Prior to 1865, Villier's street ran down the hill, directly to a wharf by the river, known as Villier's Wharf. This was swept away in 1865 by the construction of the Victoria Embankment, with its sewers and District line railway. The river was now moved back some 50 metres (164 ft) from the foot of Villiers Street.

Housing on the west side of the street was demolished in the 1860s to make way for Charing Cross Station. Rudyard Kipling lived at number 43 in 1889–91[4] and here wrote the partly autobiographical novel The Light That Failed, which contains references to the area. Kipling remarks that:

From my desk I could look out of my window through the fanlight of Gatti's Music-Hall entrance, across the street, almost on to its stage. The Charing Cross trains rumbled through my dreams on one side, the boom of the Strand on the other, while, before my windows, Father Thames under the Shot tower walked up and down with his traffic.

After World War II Gatti's became the noted Players' Theatre Club, specialising in music hall entertainments. This has become the New Players' Theatre, adjacent to the Heaven nightclub.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Strand, southern tributaries – continued, Old and New London: Volume 3 (1878), pp. 100–110 accessed: 17 October 2007
  2. ^ The Story of the Strand Rudyard Kipling, Strand Magazine January 1891. The specific comment is: In Villiers Street both Evelyn and Steele lived: but it is now the haunt of anything rather than genius.
  3. ^ History of Imperial College, in a timeline (Imperial College) accessed 17 October 2007
  4. ^ "Houses for sale with blue plaques". Daily Telegraph. 

"Villiers Street" in Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert (1983) The London Encyclopedia.

Coordinates: 51°30′29″N 0°07′26″W / 51.5080°N 0.1238°W / 51.5080; -0.1238