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Charing Cross Road is a street in central London running immediately north of St Martin-in-the-Fields to St Giles Circus (the intersection with Oxford Street) and then becomes Tottenham Court Road. It leads from the north in the direction of Charing Cross at the south side of Trafalgar Square. It connects via St Martin's Place and the motorised east side of the square.
Charing Cross road was originally[ timeframe? ] two narrow streets in the West End, Crown Street and Castle Street. The development of Regent Street (parallel to the west) in the mid-18th century coincided with not only the building up of great fields west of the area but also Westminster Bridge which was built as central London and the wider estuary's second bridge after more than a century of pressure, in 1750.
These pressures therefore congested the north–south axis of the inner West End almost as much as the relieved London Bridge area. Specifically a major increase in traffic occurred[ when? ] around Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross and Oxford Street, much of it destined from/to Tottenham Court Road, Bloomsbury and nearby routes to all northerly directions.
Charing Cross Road was therefore developed, in conjunction with Shaftesbury Avenue, by the Metropolitan Board of Works under an 1877 Act of Parliament. [ when? ] to improve traffic flow through central London. The scheme abolished some of the worst slums in London which delayed progress in construction while they were rehoused.The Act's total costs, including demolition and rebuilding of many rows of buildings across London was £778,238. The two streets and others such as the Thames Embankment, Northumberland Avenue and the Kingsway-Aldwych superstructure were built
Charing Cross Road is renowned for its specialist and second-hand bookshops. The section from Leicester Square Underground station to Cambridge Circus is home to specialist bookshops, and more general second-hand and antiquarian shops such as Quinto Bookshop, Henry Pordes and Any Amount of Books. Zwemmer's Bookshop, an arts bookshop founded in 1922, was present at 79 Charing Cross Road until 2002.Smaller second-hand and specialist antiquarian bookshops can be found on the adjoining Cecil Court.
The northern section between Cambridge Circus and Oxford Street includes more generalist bookshops such as the venerable Foyles. A long-standing correspondence between New York City-based author Helene Hanff and the staff of a bookshop on the street, Marks & Co., was the inspiration for the book 84, Charing Cross Road (1970). The book was made into a 1987 film starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins and also into a play and a BBC radio drama. As of 2022 [update] the building is a restaurant at street level, entered around the corner in Cambridge Circus, but its upper levels of the building remain as originally constructed. A brass plaque on the stone pilaster facing Charing Cross Road commemorates the former bookshop and Hanff's book.
The music venue the Astoria was located here, as is one of the sites of St Martin's Arts College, opening in 1939.To the northeast of Charing Cross Road are the music shops on Denmark Street (known as Britain's Tin Pan Alley).
A number of theatres are on or near Charing Cross Road, such as the Phoenix Theatre (which has its entrance on the adjoining Phoenix Street), the Garrick Theatre and Wyndham's Theatre.
Beneath the grille in the traffic island between Charing Cross Road's junction with Old Compton Street, in the middle of the road, a road sign reading Little Compton Street can be seen, which was a historic name for the eastern end of Old Compton Street beyond its junction with Greek Street.
On the east side of the road's southern end, at the joining of St Martins Lane, is a statue of Edith Cavell. Towards the north end is the Phoenix Garden, an environmental garden run by local residents.
In the Harry Potter books, the Leaky Cauldron pub is located on Charing Cross Road. Author J.K. Rowling chose this road because "it is famous for its bookshops, both modern and antiquarian. This is why I wanted it to be the place where those in the know go to enter a different world."
Whitehall is a road and area in the City of Westminster, Central London. The road forms the first part of the A3212 road from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea. It is the main thoroughfare running south from Trafalgar Square towards Parliament Square. The street is recognised as the centre of the Government of the United Kingdom and is lined with numerous departments and ministries, including the Ministry of Defence, Horse Guards and the Cabinet Office. Consequently, the name "Whitehall" is used as a metonym for the British civil service and government, and as the geographic name for the surrounding area.
Tottenham Court Road is a major road in Central London, almost entirely within the London Borough of Camden.
St Giles Circus is a road junction in the St Giles district of the West End of London at the eastern end of Oxford Street, where it connects with New Oxford Street, Charing Cross Road and Tottenham Court Road, which it is more often referred to owing to the location of Tottenham Court Road Underground station directly under the junction. It is near to Soho, Covent Garden, Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia.
Cambridge Circus is the partly pedestrianised intersection where Shaftesbury Avenue crosses Charing Cross Road on the eastern edge of Soho, central London. Side-streets Earlham, West, Romilly and Moor streets also converge at this point. It is halfway between Tottenham Court Road station, Oxford Street and the centre of Leicester Square, which is southwest of Charing Cross Road via Cranborne Street.
Strand is a major thoroughfare in the City of Westminster, Central London. It runs just over 3⁄4 mile (1,200 m) from Trafalgar Square eastwards to Temple Bar, where the road becomes Fleet Street in the City of London, and is part of the A4, a main road running west from inner London.
W & G Foyle Ltd. is a bookseller with a chain of seven stores in England. It is best known for its flagship store in Charing Cross Road, London. Foyles was once listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's largest bookshop in terms of shelf length, at 30 miles (48 km), and for number of titles on display. It was bought by Waterstones in 2018.
Warren Street is a London Underground station, located at the intersection of Tottenham Court Road and Euston Road and named after adjoining Warren Street. It is part of the Northern and Victoria lines and although it is relatively used less than a number of neighbouring stations, it provides an interchange between these two lines as well as access to University College Hospital.
J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter universe contains numerous settings for the events in her fantasy novels. These locations are categorised as a dwelling, school, shopping district, or government-affiliated locale.
84, Charing Cross Road is a 1970 book by Helene Hanff, later made into a stage play, television play, and film, about the twenty-year correspondence between the author and Frank Doel, chief buyer of Marks & Co antiquarian booksellers, located at the eponymous address in London, England.
St Martin's Lane is a street in the City of Westminster, which runs from the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, after which it is named, near Trafalgar Square northwards to Long Acre. At its northern end, it becomes Monmouth Street. St Martin's Lane and Monmouth Street together form the B404.
Coventry Street is a short street in the West End of London, connecting Piccadilly Circus to Leicester Square. Part of the street is a section of the A4, a major road through London. It is named after the politician Henry Coventry, secretary of state to Charles II.
Northumberland Avenue is a street in the City of Westminster, Central London, running from Trafalgar Square in the west to the Thames Embankment in the east. The road was built on the site of Northumberland House, the London home of the Percy family, the Dukes of Northumberland between 1874 and 1876, and on part of the parallel Northumberland Street.
Helene Hanff was an American writer born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is best known as the author of the book 84, Charing Cross Road, which became the basis for a stage play, television play, and film of the same name.
Frank Percy Doel was a British antiquarian bookseller for Marks & Co in London who achieved posthumous fame as the recipient of a series of humorous letters from American author Helene Hanff, to which he scrupulously and, at first, very formally replied. The shop where he worked was at 84 Charing Cross Road, the title of a bestselling 1970 book written by Hanff which became a cult classic, a 1981 stage play, and a 1987 film starring Anthony Hopkins as Doel and Anne Bancroft as Hanff.
84 Charing Cross Road is a 1987 British-American drama film directed by David Jones, and starring Anne Bancroft, Anthony Hopkins, Judi Dench, and Mercedes Ruehl. It is produced by Bancroft's husband, Mel Brooks. The screenplay by Hugh Whitemore is based on a play by James Roose-Evans, which itself is an adaptation of the 1970 epistolary memoir of the same name by Helene Hanff — a compilation of letters between Hanff and Frank Doel dating from 1949 to 1968. Several characters who are not in the play were added for the film, including Hanff's Manhattan friends and Doel's wife Nora.
Marks & Co was a antiquarian bookshop at 84 Charing Cross Road, London.
Benjamin Weinreb (1912–1999) was a British bookseller and expert on the history of London who in 1968 sold his entire stock to the University of Texas. He developed a specialism in books about architecture about which his catalogues became important references in themselves.
Cranbourn Street is a street in Central London. It connects Leicester Square to Long Acre via Charing Cross Road.
Desmond Zwemmer was a British publisher and bookseller. For many years he ran the publishing firm A. Zwemmer Ltd. which published award-winning "books about specialised areas of the arts". He also worked with the London-based arts bookshop, A. Zwemmer, which has been variously praised by Sir Kenneth Clark who called it a "source of refreshment", by Henry Moore and by Alfred H. Barr Jr.
Anton Zwemmer (1892–1979) was a Dutch-born British bookseller, book distributor, art dealer, publisher and collector who founded Zwemmer's Bookshop and the Zwemmer Gallery in London. He was a "friend and patron of many leading artists", from Picasso to Henry Moore and Wyndham Lewis, and he played "an important role in spreading knowledge and appreciation of modern art" in Britain during the 1920s and 1930s.