Old Street

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Old Street, looking west.
Old Street Promenade of Light.[1]

Old Street is a street in central and east London that runs west to east from Goswell Road in Clerkenwell, in the London Borough of Islington, to the crossroads where it meets Shoreditch High Street (south), Kingsland Road (north) and Hackney Road (east) in Shoreditch in the London Borough of Hackney.

The nearest London Underground station is Old Street on the Northern line. It is also on the National Rail Northern City Line.

History[edit]

A map showing Old Street ward of Finsbury Metropolitan Borough as it appeared in 1952.

Old Street was recorded as Ealdestrate c.1200 and le Oldestrete in 1373. As befits its name there are some suggestions that the road is of ancient origin. It lies on the route of an old Roman or possibly pre-Roman track connecting Silchester and Colchester, skirting round the walls of Londinium, today the areas known as the City of London.

The western part was widened 1872-7, but it narrows east of Coronet Street and here survive, at Nos. 340-342 on the south side of the street and Nos. 323 and 325-329 on the north side, some domestic buildings from the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, though somewhat battered and altered in function. At the east end of Old Street there is a notable deviation of the line of Old Street as it joins the old Roman Road north to York. This deviation is visible on old maps but unexplained and is today fronted by Shoreditch Town Hall the former Shoreditch Magistrates Court (now a hotel). Together with St Leonard's, Shoreditch at the East end of Old Street this was the civic hub of the former Metropolitan Borough of Shoreditch.

The eastern half of the road is on the London Inner Ring Road and forms part of the boundary of the London congestion charge zone. Old Street and the surrounding areas of Hoxton Square and Great Eastern Street also hosts a thriving night life. Old Street station is located under Old Street roundabout, the junction with City Road. With the increase in passenger numbers using the station, in 2014 Transport for London announced that it was to offer pop-up retail space at Old Street station as part of a drive to increase its revenue.[2]

Within the past few years Old Street has become a favoured location for notable graffiti artists such as Banksy and Jef Aérosol.[citation needed] Banksy has featured several pieces on "Shoreditch Bridge".[3]

Old Street and its immediate surrounding areas has attracted IT and tech companies, both established and start-ups, and has been dubbed Silicon Roundabout.[4]

Notes[edit]

  • Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner (1998) London: North. London: Penguin Books.
  • Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert (1983) "Old Street" in The London Encyclopedia.

References[edit]

Coordinates: 51°31′36″N 0°04′57″W / 51.52653°N 0.08246°W / 51.52653; -0.08246