Interior of the former vegetable market, 2014
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Covent Garden ( /
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom, as well as the largest city within the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.
The West End of London refers to a distinct region of Central London, west of the City of London and north of the River Thames, in which many of the city's major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings and entertainment venues, including West End theatres, are concentrated.
St Martin's Lane is a street in the 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.
The area was briefly settled in the 7th century when it became the heart of the Anglo-Saxon trading town of Lundenwic, abandoned at the end of the 9th century.By 1200, part of it had been walled off by Westminster Abbey for use as arable land and orchards. Referred to as "the garden of the Abbey and Convent", and later "the Covent Garden", it was seized by Henry VIII and granted to the Earls of Bedford in 1552. The 4th Earl commissioned Inigo Jones to build some fine houses to attract wealthy tenants. Jones designed the Italianate arcaded square along with the church of St Paul's. The design of the square was new to London and had a significant influence on modern town planning, acting as the prototype for new estates as London grew.
Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic abbey church in the City of Westminster, London, England, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the United Kingdom's most notable religious buildings and the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English and, later, British monarchs. The building itself was a Benedictine monastic church until the monastery was dissolved in 1539. Between 1540 and 1556, the abbey had the status of a cathedral. Since 1560, the building is no longer an abbey or a cathedral, having instead the status of a Church of England "Royal Peculiar"—a church responsible directly to the sovereign.
Arable land is, according to one definition, land capable of being ploughed and used to grow crops. In Britain, it was traditionally contrasted with pasturable land such as heaths which could be used for sheep-rearing but not farmland.
Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father, Henry VII. Henry is best known for his six marriages, in particular his efforts to have his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled. His disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is also known as "the father of the Royal Navy"; he invested heavily in the Navy, increasing its size greatly from a few to more than 50 ships.
By 1654 a small open-air fruit-and-vegetable market had developed on the south side of the fashionable square. Gradually, both the market and the surrounding area fell into disrepute, as taverns, theatres, coffee-houses and brothels opened up. km) south-west at Nine Elms. The central building re-opened as a shopping centre in 1980 and is now a tourist location containing cafes, pubs, small shops, and a craft market called the Apple Market, along with another market held in the Jubilee Hall.By the 18th century it had become a well-known red-light district. An Act of Parliament was drawn up to control the area, and Charles Fowler's neo-classical building was erected in 1830 to cover and help organise the market. The market grew and further buildings were added: the Floral Hall, Charter Market, and in 1904 the Jubilee Market. By the end of the 1960s traffic congestion was causing problems, and in 1974 the market relocated to the New Covent Garden Market about three miles (5
A red-light district or pleasure district is a part olivia an urban area where a concentration of prostitution and sex-oriented businesses, such as sex shops, strip clubs, and adult theaters, are found. Areas in many big cities around the world have acquired an international reputation as red-light districts.
Charles Fowler was an English architect, born and baptised at Cullompton, Devon. He is especially noted for his design of market buildings, including Covent Garden Market in London.
New Covent Garden Market is the largest wholesale fruit, vegetable, and flower market in the United Kingdom. Located in Nine Elms, London, the market covers a site of 57 acres (23 ha) and is home to about 200 fruit, vegetable, and flower companies. The market serves 40% of the fruit and vegetables eaten outside of the home in London and provides ingredients to many of London's top restaurants, hotels, schools, prisons, hospitals, and catering businesses.
Covent Garden falls within the London boroughs of Westminster and Camden and the parliamentary constituencies of Cities of London and Westminster and Holborn and St Pancras. The area has been served by the Piccadilly line at Covent Garden Underground station since 1907.
The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough that also holds city status. It occupies much of the central area of Greater London including most of the West End. Historically in Middlesex, it is to the west of the ancient City of London, directly to the east of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and its southern boundary is the River Thames. The London borough was created with the 1965 establishment of Greater London. Upon its creation, it inherited the city status previously held by the smaller Metropolitan Borough of Westminster from 1900, which was first awarded to Westminster in 1540.
The London Borough of Camden is a borough in north London, and forms part of Inner London. Historically in Middlesex, some southern areas of the borough, such as Holborn, are sometimes described as part of the West End of London.
Cities of London and Westminster is a constituency returning a single Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons in the United Kingdom Parliament. It is a borough constituency for the purposes of election expenses and type of returning officer. As with all constituencies, the election is decided using the first past the post system of election. Since its creation at the 1950 general election, the constituency has always elected the candidate nominated by the Conservative Party. It has been represented since 2001 by Mark Field.
What would become the Strand on the southern boundary of the future Covent Garden was used during the Roman period as part of a route to Silchester, known as Iter VII on the Antonine Itinerary.Excavations in 2006 at St Martin-in-the-Fields revealed a late Roman grave, suggesting the locale had been a sacred site. The area to the north of the Strand was long thought to have remained as unsettled fields until the 16th century, but theories by Alan Vince and Martin Biddle that there had been an Anglo-Saxon settlement to the west of the old Roman town of Londinium were borne out by excavations in 1985 and 2005. These revealed Covent Garden as the centre of a trading town called Lundenwic, developed around 600 AD, which stretched from Trafalgar Square to Aldwych. Alfred the Great gradually shifted the settlement into the old Roman town of Londinium from around 886 AD onwards, leaving no mark of the old town, and the site returned to fields.
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 inside the City of London, and is part of the A4, a main road running west from inner London.
Roman Britain was the area of the island of Great Britain that was governed by the Roman Empire, from 43 to 410 AD. It comprised almost the whole of England and Wales and, for a short period, southern Scotland.
Silchester is a village and civil parish about 5 miles (8 km) north of Basingstoke in Hampshire. It is adjacent to the county boundary with Berkshire and about 9 miles (14 km) south-west of Reading.
A document from 1200 AD mentions a walled garden owned by the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of St Peter, Westminster. A later document, dated between 1250 and 1283, refers to "the garden of the Abbot and Convent of Westminster". 40-acre (16 ha) quadrangle of mixed orchard, meadow, pasture and arable land, lying between modern-day St Martin's Lane and Drury Lane, and Floral Street and Maiden Lane. The use of the name "Covent"—an Anglo-French term for a religious community, equivalent to "monastery" or "convent" —appears in a document in 1515, when the Abbey, which had been letting out parcels of land along the north side of the Strand for inns and market gardens, granted a lease of the walled garden, referring to it as "a garden called Covent Garden". This is how it was recorded from then on.By the 13th century this had become a
Floral Street is a street located in the Covent Garden area of London. It runs east from Garrick Street to Bow Street and contains a number of fashion stores, including Paul Smith.
Maiden Lane is a street in Covent Garden, London, that runs from Bedford Street in the west to Southampton Street in the east. The painter J. M. W. Turner was born in the street in 1775.
After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540, Henry VIII took the land belonging to Westminster Abbey for himself; this included the convent garden and seven acres to the north called Long Acre. His son, Edward VI, granted it to the John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, in 1552.The Russell family, who in 1694 were advanced in their peerage from Earl to Duke of Bedford, held the land until 1918.
Russell built Bedford House and garden on part of the land, with an entrance on the Strand, the large garden stretching back along the south side of the old walled-off convent garden.In 1630, 4th Earl of Bedford, Francis Russell commissioned Inigo Jones to design and build a church and three terraces of fine houses around a large square or piazza. This had been prompted by Charles I taking offence at the condition of the road and houses along Long Acre, which were the responsibility of Russell and Henry Carey, 2nd Earl of Monmouth. Russell and Carey complained that under the 1625 Proclamation concerning Buildings, which restricted building in and around London, they could not build new houses. For a fee of £2,000, the King then granted Russell a licence to build as many new houses on his land as he "shall thinke fitt and convenient".
The houses initially attracted the wealthy, though they moved out when a market developed on the south side of the square around 1654, and coffee houses, taverns, and prostitutes moved in.The Bedford Estate was expanded in 1669 to include Bloomsbury, when Lord Russell married Lady Rachel Vaughan, one of the daughters of the 4th Earl of Southampton.
By the 18th century, Covent Garden had become a well-known red-light district, attracting notable prostitutes such as Betty Careless and Jane Douglas.Descriptions of the prostitutes and where to find them were provided by Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies , the "essential guide and accessory for any serious gentleman of pleasure". In 1830 a market hall was built to provide a more permanent trading centre. In 1913, Herbrand Russell, 11th Duke of Bedford, agreed to sell the Covent Garden Estate for £2 million to the MP and land speculator Harry Mallaby-Deeley, who sold his option in 1918 to the Beecham family for £250,000.
The Covent Garden Estate was part of Beecham Estates and Pills Limited from 1924 to 1928, after which it was managed by a successor company called Covent Garden Properties, owned by the Beechams and other private investors. This new company sold some properties at Covent Garden, while becoming active in property investment in other parts of London. In 1962 the bulk of the remaining properties in the Covent Garden area, including the market, were sold to the newly established government-owned Covent Garden Authority for £3,925,000.
By the end of the 1960s, traffic congestion had reached such a level that the use of the square as a modern wholesale distribution market was becoming untenable, and significant redevelopment was planned. Following a public outcry, buildings around the square were protected in 1973, preventing redevelopment. The following year the market moved to a new site in Nine Elms, between Battersea and Vauxhall in south-west London. The square languished until its central building re-opened as a shopping centre in 1980.
After consulting with residents and local businesses, Westminster Council drew up an action plan to improve the area while retaining its historic character in 2004.The market buildings, along with several other properties in Covent Garden, were bought by a Property company in 2006.
Historically, the Bedford Estate defined the boundary of Covent Garden, with Drury Lane to the east, the Strand to the south, St Martin's Lane to the west, and Long Acre to the north.However, over time the area regarded as part of Covent Garden has expanded northwards past Long Acre to High Holborn. Since 1971, with the creation of the Covent Garden Conservation Area which incorporated part of the area between St Martin's Lane and Charing Cross Road, Charing Cross Road has sometimes been taken as its western boundary. Long Acre is the main thoroughfare, running north-east from St Martin's Lane to Drury Lane. Shelton Street, running parallel to the north of Long Acre, marks the London borough boundary between Camden and Westminster.
The area to the south of Long Acre contains the Royal Opera House, the market and central square, and most of the elegant buildings, theatres and entertainment facilities, including the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and the London Transport Museum; while the area to the north of Long Acre is largely given over to independent retail units centred on Neal Street, Neal's Yard and Seven Dials; though this area also contains residential buildings such as Odhams Walk, built in 1981 on the site of the Odhams print works,and is home to 7,000 residents.
For a list of street name etymologies in Covent Garden see: Street names of Covent Garden .
The Covent Garden estate was originally under the control of Westminster Abbey and lay in the parish of St Margaret.During a reorganisation in 1542 it was transferred to St Martin in the Fields, and then in 1645 a new parish was created, splitting governance of the estate between the parishes of St Paul Covent Garden and St Martin, both still within the Liberty of Westminster. St Paul Covent Garden was completely surrounded by the parish of St Martin in the Fields. It was grouped into the Strand District in 1855 when it came within the area of responsibility of the Metropolitan Board of Works.
In 1889 the parish became part of the County of London and in 1900 it became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster. It was abolished as a civil parish in 1922. Since 1965 Covent Garden falls within the London boroughs of Westminster and Camden, and is in the Parliamentary constituencies of Cities of London and Westminster and Holborn and St Pancras.For local council elections it falls within the St James's ward for Westminster, and the Holborn and Covent Garden ward for Camden.
Covent Garden Market reopened as a retail centre in 1979, and the largest Apple Store in the world opened in The Piazza in 2010.The central hall has shops, cafes and bars alongside the Apple Market stalls selling antiques, jewellery, clothing and gifts; there are additional casual stalls in the Jubilee Hall Market on the south side of the square. Long Acre has clothes shops and boutiques, and Neal Street is noted for its numerous shoe shops. London Transport Museum and the side entrance to the Royal Opera House box office and other facilities are also located on the square. During the late 1970s and 1980s the Rock Garden music venue was popular with up and coming punk rock and new wave artists.
The market halls and several other buildings in Covent Garden were bought by CapCo in partnership with GE Real Estate in August 2006 for £421 million, on a 150-year head lease. 550,000 sq ft (51,000 m2), and has a market value of £650 million.The buildings are let to the Covent Garden Area Trust, who pay an annual peppercorn rent of one red apple and a posy of flowers for each head lease, and the Trust protects the property from being redeveloped. In March 2007 CapCo also acquired the shops located under the Royal Opera House. The complete Covent Garden Estate owned by CapCo consists of
The Royal Opera House, often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", was constructed as the "Theatre Royal" in 1732 to a design by Edward Shepherd.During the first hundred years or so of its history, the theatre was primarily a playhouse, with the Letters Patent granted by Charles II giving Covent Garden and Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, exclusive rights to present spoken drama in London. In 1734, the first ballet was presented; a year later Handel's first season of operas began. Many of his operas and oratorios were specifically written for Covent Garden and had their premières here. It has been the home of The Royal Opera since 1945, and the Royal Ballet since 1946.
The current building is the third theatre on the site following destructive fires in 1808 and 1857. The façade, foyer and auditorium were designed by Edward Barry, and date from 1858, but almost every other element of the present complex dates from an extensive £178 million reconstruction in the 1990s.The main auditorium is a Grade I listed building. The inclusion of the adjacent old Floral Hall, previously a part of the old Covent Garden Market, created a large new public gathering place. In 1779 the pavement outside the playhouse was the scene of the murder of Martha Ray, mistress of the Earl of Sandwich, by her admirer the Rev. James Hackman.
The central square in Covent Garden is simply called "Covent Garden", often marketed as "Covent Garden Piazza" to distinguish it from the eponymous surrounding area. Designed and laid out in 1630, it was the first modern square in London—originally a flat, open space or piazza with low railings.From about 1635 onwards there were many private residents of note, including the nobility, living in the Great Piazza. A casual market started on the south side, and by 1830 the present market hall had been built. The space is popular with street performers, who audition with the site's owners for an allocated slot. The square was originally laid out when the 4th Earl of Bedford, Francis Russell, commissioned Inigo Jones to design and build a church and three terraces of fine houses around the site of a former walled garden belonging to Westminster Abbey. Jones's design was informed by his knowledge of modern town planning in Europe, particularly Piazza d'Arme, in Leghorn, Tuscany, Piazza San Marco in Venice, Piazza Santissima Annunziata in Florence, and the Place des Vosges in Paris. The centrepiece of the project was the large square, the concept of which was new to London, and this had a significant influence on modern town planning as the metropolis grew, acting as the prototype for the design of new estates, such as the Ladbroke Estate and the Grosvenor Estate. Isaac de Caus, the French Huguenot architect, designed the individual houses under Jones's overall design.
The church of St Paul's was the first building, and was begun in July 1631 on the western side of the square. The last house was completed in 1637.Seventeen of the houses had arcaded portico walks organised in groups of four and six either side of James Street on the north side, and three and four either side of Russell Street. These arcades, rather than the square itself, took the name Piazza; the group from James Street to Russell Street became known as the "Great Piazza" and that to the south of Russell Street as the "Little Piazza". None of Inigo Jones's houses remain, though part of the north group was reconstructed in 1877–79 as Bedford Chambers by William Cubitt to a design by Henry Clutton.
The first record of a "new market in Covent Garden" is in 1654 when market traders set up stalls against the garden wall of Bedford House.The Earl of Bedford acquired a private charter from Charles II in 1670 for a fruit and vegetable market, permitting him and his heirs to hold a market every day except Sundays and Christmas Day. The original market, consisting of wooden stalls and sheds, became disorganised and disorderly, and John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford, requested an Act of Parliament in 1813 to regulate it, then commissioned Charles Fowler in 1830 to design the neo-classical market building that is the heart of Covent Garden today. The contractor was William Cubitt and Company. Further buildings were added—the Floral hall, Charter Market, and in 1904 the Jubilee Market for foreign flowers was built by Cubitt and Howard.
By the end of the 1960s, traffic congestion was causing problems for the market, which required increasingly large lorries for deliveries and distribution. Redevelopment was considered, but protests from the Covent Garden Community Association in 1973 prompted the Home Secretary, Robert Carr, to give dozens of buildings around the square listed-building status, preventing redevelopment. km) south-west at Nine Elms. The central building re-opened as a shopping centre in 1980, with cafes, pubs, small shops and a craft market called the Apple Market. Among the first shops to relocate here was Benjamin Pollock's Toy Shop. Another market, the Jubilee Market, is held in the Jubilee Hall on the south side of the square. The market halls and several other buildings in Covent Garden have been owned by the property company Capital & Counties Properties (CapCo) since 2006.The following year the market relocated to its new site, New Covent Garden Market, about three miles (5
The current Theatre Royal on Drury Lane is the most recent of four incarnations, the first of which opened in 1663, making it the oldest continuously used theatre in London.For much of its first two centuries, it was, along with the Royal Opera House, a patent theatre granted rights in London for the production of drama, and had a claim to be one of London's leading theatres. The first theatre, known as "Theatre Royal, Bridges Street", saw performances by Nell Gwyn and Charles Hart. After it was destroyed by fire in 1672, English dramatist and theatre manager Thomas Killigrew constructed a larger theatre on the same spot, which opened in 1674. Killigrew's theatre lasted nearly 120 years, under leadership including Colley Cibber, David Garrick, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan. In 1791, under Sheridan's management, the building was demolished to make way for a larger theatre which opened in 1794. However that survived only 15 years, burning down in 1809. The building that stands today opened in 1812. It has been home to actors as diverse as Shakespearean actor Edmund Kean, child actress Clara Fisher, comedian Dan Leno, the comedy troupe Monty Python (who recorded a concert album there), and musical composer and performer Ivor Novello. Since November 2008 the theatre has been owned by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and generally stages popular musical theatre. It is a Grade I listed building.
The London Transport Museum is in a Victorian iron and glass building on the east side of the market square. It was designed as a dedicated flower market by William Rogers of William Cubitt and Company in 1871,and was first occupied by the museum in 1980. Previously the transport collection had been held at Syon Park and Clapham. The first parts of the collection were brought together at the beginning of the 20th century by the London General Omnibus Company (LGOC) when it began to preserve buses being retired from service. After the LGOC was taken over by the London Electric Railway (LER), the collection was expanded to include rail vehicles. It continued to expand after the LER became part of the London Passenger Transport Board in the 1930s and as the organisation passed through various successor bodies up to TfL, London's transport authority since 2000. The Covent Garden building has on display many examples of buses, trams, trolleybuses and rail vehicles from the 19th and 20th centuries as well as artefacts and exhibits related to the operation and marketing of passenger services and the impact that the developing transport network has had on the city and its population.
St Paul's, commonly known as the Actors' Church,was built in 1633, at a cost of £4,000, though was not consecrated until 1638. In 1645 Covent Garden was made a separate parish and the church was dedicated to St Paul. How much of Jones's original building is left is unclear, as the church was damaged by fire in 1795 during restoration work by Thomas Hardwick; the columns are thought to be original but the rest is mostly Georgian or Victorian reconstruction.
Freemasons' Hall is the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England and the Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England, as well as a meeting place for many Masonic Lodges in the London area. It is in Great Queen Street between Holborn and Covent Garden and has been a Masonic meeting place since 1775.Parts of the building are open to the public daily, and its preserved classic Art Deco style, together with its regular use as a film and television location, have made it a tourist destination.
The Covent Garden area has long been associated with entertainment and shopping.Covent Garden has 13 theatres, and over 60 pubs and bars, with most south of Long Acre, around the main shopping area of the old market. The Seven Dials area in the north of Covent Garden was home to the punk rock club The Roxy in 1977, and the area remains focused on young people with its trendy mid-market retail outlets.
Street entertainment at Covent Garden was noted in Samuel Pepys's diary in May 1662, when he recorded the first mention of a Punch and Judy show in Britain.Impromptu performances of song and swimming were given by local celebrity William Cussans in the eighteenth century. Covent Garden is licensed for street entertainment, and performers audition for timetabled slots in a number of venues around the market, including the North Hall, West Piazza, and South Hall Courtyard. The courtyard space is dedicated to classical music only. There are street performances at Covent Garden Market every day of the year, except Christmas Day. Shows run throughout the day and are about 30 minutes in length. In March 2008, the market owner, CapCo, proposed to reduce street performances to one 30-minute show each hour.
The Covent Garden area has over 60 pubs and bars; several of them are listed buildings, with some also on CAMRA's National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors;some, such as The Harp in Chandos Place, have received consumer awards. The Harp's awards include London Pub of the Year in 2008 by the Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood, and National Pub of the Year by CAMRA in 2010. It was at one time owned by the Charrington Brewery, when it was known as The Welsh Harp; in 1995 the name was abbreviated to just The Harp, before Charrington sold it to Punch Taverns in 1997. It was eventually purchased by the landlady Binnie Walsh around 2010 then subsequently sold by her to Fuller's Brewery in 2014. It continues to win regular CAMRA pub awards under its new owners.
The Lamb and Flag in Rose Street is possibly the oldest pub in the area.The first mention of a pub on the site is 1772 (when it was called the Cooper's Arms – the name changing to Lamb & Flag in 1833); the 1958 brick exterior conceals what may be an early 18th-century frame of a house replacing the original one built in 1638. The pub acquired a reputation for staging bare-knuckle prize fights during the early 19th century when it earned the nickname "Bucket of Blood". The alleyway beside the pub was the scene of an attack on John Dryden in 1679 by thugs hired by John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, with whom he had a long-standing conflict.
The Salisbury in St Martin's Lane was built as part of a six-storey block around 1899 on the site of an earlier pub that had been known under several names, including the Coach & Horses and Ben Caunt's Head; it is both Grade II listed, and on CAMRA's National Inventory, due to the quality of the etched and polished glass and the carved woodwork, summed up as "good fin de siècle ensemble".The Freemasons Arms on Long Acre is linked with the founding of the Football Association in 1863; however, the meetings took place at The Freemason's Tavern on Great Queen Street, which was replaced in 1909 by the Connaught Rooms.
Other Grade II listed pubs include three 19th century rebuilds of 17th century/18th century houses, the Nell Gwynne Tavern in Bull Inn Court,the Nag's Head on James Street, and the White Swan on New Row; a Victorian pub built by lessees of the Marquis of Exeter, the Old Bell on the corner of Exeter Street and Wellington Street; and a late 18th or early 19th century pub the Angel and Crown on St Martin's Lane.
There is a wide range of restaurants, mainly in Covent Garden's central area around the piazza, and in the St Martin's Lane area bordering the West End; some of these with international reputations.Among the restaurants are the historic theatrical eating places, the oldest of which is Rules, which was founded in 1798, making it the oldest restaurant in London, followed by J. Sheekey, an oyster bar and fish restaurant founded in 1893 by market-stall holder Josef Sheekey in Lord Salisbury's St Martin's Court, and The Ivy, which was founded as an unlicensed Italian cafe by Abel Giandellini in 1917. Other restaurants include Belgo Centraal on Earlham Street, part of the Belgo chain of Belgian themed restaurants; one of Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurants, which opened in 2007; Gaby's Deli, a Jewish cafe and restaurant serving falafels and salt beef sandwiches since 1965, and Mon Plaisir, founded in 1943, one of the oldest French restaurants in London. Covent Garden was home to some of London's earliest coffee shops, such as Old Slaughter's Coffee House, which ran from 1692 until 1843, and a Beefsteak Club, the Sublime Society of Beef Steaks, which was co-founded in 1736 by William Hogarth at the Theatre Royal (now the Royal Opera House).
Covent Garden, and especially the market, have appeared in a number of works. In 1867, Johann Strauss II from Austria composed "Erinnerung an Covent Garden" (Memory of Covent Garden, op. 329). Eliza Doolittle, the central character in George Bernard Shaw's play, Pygmalion , and the musical adaptation by Alan Jay Lerner, My Fair Lady , is a Covent Garden flower seller.Alfred Hitchcock's 1972 film Frenzy about a Covent Garden fruit vendor who becomes a serial sex killer, was set in the market where his father had been a wholesale greengrocer. The daily activity of the market was the topic of a 1957 Free Cinema documentary by Lindsay Anderson, Every Day Except Christmas , which won the Grand Prix at the Venice Festival of Shorts and Documentaries.
Covent Garden is served by the Piccadilly line at Covent Garden Underground station on the corner of Long Acre and James Street. The station was designed by Leslie Green and opened by the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway on 11 April 1907, four months after services on the rest of the line began operating on 15 December 1906. yards is London's shortest tube journey. Stations just outside the area include the Charing Cross Underground station and Charing Cross railway station, Embankment Underground station, Leicester Square Underground station, and Holborn Underground station. While there is only one bus route in Covent Garden itself—the RV1, which uses Catherine Street as a terminus, just to the east of Covent Garden square—there are over 30 routes which pass close by, mostly on the Strand or Kingsway.The station is one of the few stations in Central London for which platform access is only by lift or stairs. Until improvements in 2007, due to high passenger numbers (16 million annually), entry to the station was sometimes restricted on busy days to reduce congestion on the platforms. The distance from Covent Garden to Leicester Square at less than 300
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Drury Lane is a street on the eastern boundary of the Covent Garden area of London, running between Aldwych and High Holborn. The northern part is in the borough of Camden and the southern part in the City of Westminster.
Oxford Street is a major road in the City of Westminster in the West End of London, running from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch via Oxford Circus. It is Europe's busiest shopping street, with around half a million daily visitors, and as of 2012 had approximately 300 shops. It is designated as part of the A40, a major road between London and Fishguard, though it is not signed as such, and traffic is regularly restricted to buses and taxis.
The Royal Opera House (ROH) is an opera house and major performing arts venue in Covent Garden, central London. The large building is often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", after a previous use of the site of the opera house's original construction in 1732. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Originally called the Theatre Royal, it served primarily as a playhouse for the first hundred years of its history. In 1734, the first ballet was presented. A year later, Handel's first season of operas began. Many of his operas and oratorios were specifically written for Covent Garden and had their premieres there.
A town square is an open public space commonly found in the heart of a traditional town used for community gatherings. Other names for town square are civic center, city square, urban square, market square, public square, piazza, plaza, and town green.
Bow Street is a thoroughfare in Covent Garden, Westminster, London. It connects Long Acre, Russell Street and Wellington Street, and is part of a route from St Giles to Waterloo Bridge.
The London Transport Museum or LT Museum, based in Covent Garden, London, seeks to conserve and explain the transport heritage of Britain's capital city. The majority of the museum's exhibits originated in the collection of London Transport, but, since the creation of Transport for London (TfL) in 2000, the remit of the museum has expanded to cover all aspects of transportation in the city.
Seven Dials is a road junction in the neighborhood Covent Garden in the London Borough of Camden, West End of London where seven streets converge. At the centre of the roughly circular space is a column bearing six sundials, a result of the column being commissioned before a late-stage alteration of the plans from an original six roads to seven.
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.
Long Acre is a street in the City of Westminster in central London. It runs from St Martin's Lane, at its western end, to Drury Lane in the east. The street was completed in the early 17th century and was once known for its coach-makers, and later for its car dealers.
St Paul's Church is a church located in Bedford Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9ED. It was designed by Inigo Jones as part of a commission for the 4th Earl of Bedford in 1631 to create "houses and buildings fit for the habitations of Gentlemen and men of ability". As well as being the parish church of Covent Garden, the church has gained the nickname of "the actors' church" by a long association with the theatre community.
Whitechapel Road is a major arterial road in Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets, in the East End of London. It is named after a small chapel of ease dedicated to St Mary and connects Aldgate to the west with Mile End Road to the east. The road is part of the historic Roman road from London to Colchester, now the A11.
Tavistock Street is a street in the Covent Garden area of London which runs parallel to the Strand between Drury Lane and Southampton Street just south of the market piazza.
The Bedford Estate is an estate in central London that is owned by the Russell family, which holds the peerage title of Duke of Bedford. The estate was originally based in Covent Garden, then stretched to include Bloomsbury in 1669. The Covent Garden property was sold for £2 million in 1913 by Herbrand Russell, 11th Duke of Bedford, to the MP and land speculator Harry Mallaby-Deeley, who sold his option to the Beecham family for £250,000; the sale was finalised in 1918.
The Cleveland Street Workhouse is a Georgian property in Cleveland Street, Marylebone, built between 1775 and 1778 for the care of the sick and poor of the parish of St Paul Covent Garden under the Old Poor Law. From 1836, it became the workhouse of the Strand Union of parishes. The building remained in operation until 2005 after witnessing the complex evolution of the healthcare system in England. After functioning as a workhouse, the building became a workhouse infirmary before being acquired by the Middlesex Hospital and finally falling under the NHS. In the last century it was known as the Middlesex Hospital Annexe and the Outpatient Department. It closed to the public in 2005 and it has since been vacated. On 14 March 2011 the entire building became Grade II Listed.
Henrietta Street is a street in Covent Garden, London, that was once home to a number of artists and later became the location of many publishing firms.
The White Lion is a pub in Covent Garden, London, on the corner of James Street and Floral Street.
The somewhat involved history of the ownership and management of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden can be split up into three main categories: the managers of the various theatrical and operatic companies which played there ; the leaseholders of the opera houses built on the land; and the owners of the freehold. From the early 20th century the theatre's management tended to be split between a general administrator and a musical/artistic director.
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