An Historical Tour of London Via the British Version of the Monopoly Board Game- a 21st Century View
The London version of the Monopoly board shows the values of properties in London in the mid-30's when the game was put together. Since then, the Luftwaffe, the local government and gentrification have all played their parts in adding to or decreasing the value of these places. Let's explore the locations on the board from a 21st century perspective.
Old Kent Road
Formerly the cheapest property on the board (now joint with Whitechapel Road) and the only one south of the river, the Old Kent Road runs from Bricklayers Arms at the Tower Bridge Road junction to the edge of Deptford where it becomes New Cross Road. Also the beginning of the A2 running from London to Dover, the Old Kent Road is still shabby in many places, but with the current regeneration of nearby Elephant and Castle at the northern end, gentrification is likely to spread over the next few years. Like everywhere in London, it is still not a cheap place to live, even though the majority of it looks it. Multi-cultural, with many Latin American and Arabic shops at the north end, the road becomes more monocultural and ugly the further south along it you traverse.
The Old Kent Road dates back to before Roman times and was part of the route taken by the pilgrims in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Large areas around it were owned by the Rolls family, whose last male descendent was Charles Rolls, co-founder of Rolls Royce who was the first Briton to die in a plane crash. Much of the road still has an industrial feel about it and is overlooked by the skeleton of the gasholder frame halfway down, the largest gasholder in the world when it was built. Unsightly retail parks are numerous along the road. Burgess Park is an unlikely oasis where the street meets Albany Road, which has a barbeque area and the beautiful Chumleigh Garden that is almost a separate entity from the rest of the park.
In the 14th Century, a church of white stone was built and dedicated to St Mary on what is now Whitechapel High Street, which becomes Whitechapel Road as it runs east, giving the area its name. During the Blitz, the church was bombed to smithereens, the floor still visible in what is now Altab Ali park, named after a Bangladeshi murdered in a racist attack in 1978.
The oldest manufacturing company in Britain, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry stands on Whitechapel Road. The foundry cast the now cracked Liberty Bell which is in Philadelphia, as well as "Great Tom" which hangs in Lincoln Cathedral, the bells of St Pauls, Westminster Abbey, Liverpool's Anglican cathedral and the most famous of all, Big Ben.
Whitechapel Road runs eastwards becoming Mile End Road. It is the first part of the A11 running from London to Colchester. Whitechapel is synonymous with immigration, first with the Huguenots in the 17th century, the Irish and the Eastern European Jewish refugees in the 19th and the Bangladeshi community in the 20th. Whitechapel Road is famous for London's largest mosque. The rather unaesthetic looking market stretches along the main road up to the Blind Beggar pub, where Ronnie Kray shot George Cornell in a notorious 60's gangland execution. Following the murder theme, Whitechapel is of course infamous for the Jack the Ripper murders, and morbid tours of the area are popular with ghoulish sightseers, while nearby Brick Lane is famous for its Sunday market, its curry houses, most of which are Bangladeshi and also houses the oldest bagel bakery in the UK.
Whitechapel and nearby Shoreditch are famous for street art, and grafitti tours have become a recent addition to the area. Some of Banksy's early street artworks featured around the area, but these have gone during the gentrification of the neighbourhood and building of the new Crossrail.
As a main route into London, and due to partial gentrification, house prices are going up. There are some beautiful Georgian squares in Whitechapel. The area is served by the Royal London Hospital. Its old building is now derelict and looks like Arkham Asylum in Batman, but Dr Barnardo studied medicine here and Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man lived here until his death after being rescued from the shop window where he was displayed on Whitechapel Road. His bones are still kept in the hospital pathology department and back in the 1990's, Michael Jackson famously attempted to purchase them. The area, due to its close proximity to the city, is now worth considerably more than its Monopoly price would suggest.
Kings Cross Station
Many tourists visiting London for the first time are disappointed to discover that Kings Cross station is not the grand looking one with the hotel built in. That is St Pancras station, whose perpendicular gothic beauty highlights the ugliness of its neighbour. After closing as a hotel in the 1930's, the Midland Grand Hotel as it was known was used as offices before closing in the 80's and standing empty for years. Sadly, its biggest champion, the former poet laureate Sir John Betjeman never lived to see it restored and reopened as the St Pancras Renaissance in 2011, in time for the London Olympics the following year.
Despite Kings Cross's redevelopment during the early 21st century in the wake of the popularity of Harry Potter as well as the 2012 Olympics, it is still a brutal looking building, hence its use in numerous dystopian films of the post-war 20th century. However, it is still probably the most famous railway station in Britain. The area became notorious in the late 20th century for prostitution and homelessness until it was gentrified.
In 1987, a fire started by a discarded cigarette on an escalator in Kings Cross underground station killed 31 people, leading to smoking being banned across the tube network. Now of course, smoking is banned nearly everywhere. Having all four stations in a game of Monopoly is more likely to win the game than having Mayfair and Park Lane as players stop on them more often and the more you have, the higher the rent.
The Angel, Islington
The only site on the Monopoly board named after a building rather than a street or square, (other than the stations and jail), and currently the site of the Cooperative Bank, the Angel, Islington was not the name of the area in the 1930's, but in fact a hotel that stood on the corner of New Road (now City Road), Upper Street and Pentonville Road. While there is an Angel pub next door, the original hotel building still occupies the site as grade II listed building and has given its name to the area.
After the hotel closed, the building became the flagship branch of the J. Lyons chain of tea shops. An executive of Waddingtons, the company that makes Monopoly, found himself taking lunch there one afternoon as locations were being compiled for the game, hence its inclusion. The third cheapest location on the monopoly board, this reflects how much Islington has changed since the game was invented. Gentrification of this area began as far back as the late 60's and it is worth considerably more than its 21st century equivalent value. Angel underground station, redeveloped in the 1990's, has the longest escalator in London.
As part of London's inner ring-road, the Euston Road is an utter nightmare during rush-hour. Euston Road runs from Kings Cross to Great Portland Street where it becomes Marylebone Road, the street on record as having the worst air quality in London. The British Library is situated on Euston Road after moving from its former home within the British Museum early in the 21st century, as is Friends House, the headquarters of the Quakers, The Wellcome Collection art gallery, Kings Cross, St Pancras and Euston stations and St Pancras New Church.
Being a main road and in such close proximity to three of London's main stations, hotels abound along the road, along with less salubrious b&b's in the backstreets full of the hopelessly addicted. When Monopoly was invented, Euston Road was narrower but probably was just as congested. Although not the most aesthetic street to live on in places, it is likely that prices are disproportionately high compared with those when Monopoly was created.
Running uphill from Kings Cross Station to the Angel, Islington, Pentonville Road becomes City Road, continuing east to the Old Street roundabout. Part of the inner London ring-road, it is joined by Euston Road at Kings Cross.
A former industrial neighbourhood, this street was full of factories until the late 20th century, but is now largely residential. There is a bizarre looking building at its junction with Gray's Inn Road with a lighthouse on top and the former Scala cinema, which is now a nightclub. A shot of Iggy Pop onstage here is on the cover of the Stooges Raw Power album.
The original Angel, Islington hotel stood at the corner at the top of the hill, the building still standing and now housing the Cooperative Bank. The square next to it on the Monopoly board is the jail, although Pentonville Prison is actually further north on nearby Caledonian Road.
Often mistaken for the far grander thoroughfare known as The Mall, Pall Mall is named after a game, similar to croquet, (also called "pell mell" and "pelle maille") that used to be played in the area. As Pall Mall became congested, Charles II had the street that runs from Admiralty Arch by Trafalgar Square down to Buckingham Palace (The Mall) purpose-built to play it.
Pall Mall runs from St James' Street to Haymarket in the heart of central London where it continues as Pall Mall East to Trafalgar Square.
Pall Mall features probably the ugliest facade of all the royal palaces, St James' Palace, the London residence of Princess Anne, Princess Beatrice and Princess Alexandra. Until recently, Princess Eugenie was its main resident. The palace was built on the site of a former leper hospital.
Pall Mall is famous for its gentlemens' clubs, including the Athenaeum, the Oxford and Cambridge Club and the Reform Club, where Phineas Fogg sets off from in the Jules Verne novel to go Around the World in 80 Days. The RAC was founded on Pall Mall and this was where Burgess and Maclean met for lunch before defecting to the Soviet Union. The RAC is the only club with its own post office. Despite its relative cheapness on the Monopoly board, it would be impossible to live there today without a few million in the bank.
Connecting Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square, Whitehall is synonymous with the British government. Just off the main street is the gated community of Downing Street, the gates installed by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980's due to IRA threats. Until then it was possible to walk up to the front door and have one's photo taken in front of number 10. The first person to live in a house on this site was Sir Thomas Knyvet, the man who arrested Guy Fawkes. The street is named after 17th century property developer George Downing, the second man to graduate from Harvard University. Originally built of yellow brick, two centuries worth of pollution caused them to be blackened and after restoration work in the 1960s, the brickwork was painted black.
Numerous war memorials stand along Whitehall, most famously the Cenotaph (pictured above), where wreaths of poppies are laid every November on Remembrance Sunday. Originally a temporary monument stood here, but the public demanded a permanent structure and Edwyn Lutyens designed the portland stone monument.
The street is named after the palace that stood here until the 17th century, of which only the Banqueting House still remains, the earliest renaissance building in Britain. It was in the grounds of the Banqueting House that Charles I was executed. Whitehall features the Horse Guards Parade, and tourists are often seen cooing over the horses. Only members of the royal family are allowed to ride through the arch into the parade. The Ministry of Defence is based in Whitehall, and the old Whitehall Theatre (now Trafalgar Studios) was famous for its comedies over the 20th century. As far as the Monopoly board goes, it is probably impossible to buy residential property on Whitehall nowadays, if it ever was in the first place.
Named after the Earl of Northumberland in the 17th century, Northumberland Avenue runs from the embankment to Trafalgar Square and features the Playhouse Theatre, where the Goons were broadcast from in the 1950's.
Thomas Edison's London headquarters were on Northumberland Avenue, which is now full of hotels and government buildings, and is mentioned in Arthur Conan-Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles, hence a pub along this street called the Sherlock Holmes. Though not too expensive on the Monopoly board, its central location and close proximity to the river have sent prices through the roof. This is multi-millionaire territory if one is looking to buy.
The newest of the stations on the board and the one most people pronounce wrongly if they haven't grown up in London, Marylebone, (marr e lee bone) also the name of the area, is a corruption of Mary of the Bourne, a bourne being a small river (think Holborn, Westbourne Park and Kilburn), and French being the language of the medieval ruling class. St Mary's was a church somewhere in the vicinity. The current one in the area was built in the 19th century.
Relatively quiet for a main London terminus, Marylebone is in close proximity to Baker Street station and was where the railway station scenes in the Beatles first film, "A Hard Day's Night" were filmed.The whole area is rich in history and has included residents such as Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, (Holmes resides on nearby Baker Street), the historian Edward Gibbon and Charles Dickens.
When Monopoly was created, Marylebone was a considerably more important terminus than it is today, but it has resisted closure and continues to operate as a mainline and underground station.
Today it is known for its now closed down magistrate's court, (pictured above), but Bow Street's association with law and order goes back to 1750 when the author and magistrate Henry Fielding set up the Bow Street Runners, the forerunners of the Metropolitan Police. In fact the first ever police station in Britain stood on Bow Street which was the only police station in the country to have a white light outside instead of a blue light. When Queen Victoria attended the Royal Opera House, the blue light reminded her of the blue room her husband Albert died in and insisted on it being changed.
The Royal Opera House is on Bow Street, and as it runs through Covent Garden, theatres abound in the area. Once again, the price on the Monopoly board is no reflection of the 21st century value of property in the area. Slap bang in the centre of a tourist trap, property on Bow Street, or anywhere in the area is indeed a valuable asset.
(Great) Marlborough Street
The one street that is named wrongly on the board, like the other orange squares, Great Marlborough Street has a connection with the law as the home of Marlborough Street Magistrates Court, after which the Monopoly square was misnamed. This is where Oscar Wilde lost his libel case against the Marquis of Queensbury in 1895 and was subsequently tried and convicted himself at the Old Bailey. It is now the Courthouse Hotel. The street was named after John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, hero of the Battle of Blenheim and ancestor of Winston.
The most striking building on this street is the Liberty department store, with its distinctive black and white mock-Tudor facade, though its official address is Regent Street, with which it shares the corner. From here Great Marlborough Street runs into Soho. Just round a different corner opposite on Argyll Street is the London Palladium, probably the most famous theatre in the world. Round another corner still is Carnaby Street, which was THE place to be in the 1960's according to the magazines, websites and pub bores.
Great Marlborough Street was the home of Philip Morris's cigarette factory. When the franchise opened in the USA, he named them Marlboro after the street, with the American-style corrupted spelling and they became the most popular cigarettes in the world. With hotels and landmarks like Liberty and the Palladium, Great Marlborough Street is unlikely to be worth anything like the equivalent of its 1930's value today. Although millionaire territory now, much of the West End was full of slums and home to the poorest in society.
Like the other two orange squares on the Monopoly board, a courthouse also stood on Vine Street in the 18th and 19th centuries. Vine Street was also home to one of the main police stations in London, where singer Shane Magowan "was beaten and mauled" in the Pogues song, "The Old Main Drag". The Marquis of Queensbury, who gave us the rules of boxing, was brought here after his arrest for libel against Oscar Wilde, which subsequently led to Wilde's own arrest and conviction for homosexuality.
Nowadays Vine Street is an obscure and tiny street with nothing particularly remarkable there, but as a West End address, again it is likely to be worth more than it was in the 1930's. Now the pubs have gone from the street, people on the Monopoly pub crawl have to drink round the corner.
For many years, the Strand was the only link between Westminster and the City. Twinings tea company have occupied premises on the Strand since 1717. Running from Temple Bar, where the dragon marks the edge of the City to Trafalgar Square, the street is lined with theatres. One of the most famous is the Lyceum, which is actually on Wellington Street just off the Strand. This was where the famous live version of Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry" was recorded at a legendary concert in 1975.
There are two islands on the Strand occupied by churches. One is St Clement Danes, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, whose bells say "Oranges and Lemons" in the children's nursery rhyme. The other one is St Mary-Le-Strand, which had London's first taxi rank outside. Though it isn't a Wren church, it is the mother church of the WRENS- the Women's Royal Naval Service. The Strand, or Aldwych disused station is a prime location for filming underground station scenes and features in many films.
The Savoy Hotel and Theatre are internationally famous. The approach to the hotel is the only street in Britain where you have to drive on the right. This made it easier for carriage drivers to navigate the forecourt in the 19th century. This was the first electrically lit hotel in Britain, while the theatre premiered Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. Somerset House is a remarkable building on the corner of Waterloo Bridge which hosted the first ever Italian opera in Britain during the 17th century. Strand magazine featured many of the first Sherlock Holmes stories, and No. 1 was the first house in London to be numbered. The Strand also gave its name to a well known but unpopular brand of cigarettes in the late 1950's. With all this and more, rents on the Strand are not cheap and if you're looking to buy, the Monopoly values are well below current rates.
Named after the covered over river that runs beneath it, Wynkyn De Worde (who was apprentice to William Caxton, the pioneer of the printing press in Britain), set up a printing press here in 1500, as bookbinders and other related services were already established in the area. Famous for its lawlessness, the government, attempting to clean the area up in the 19th century, sold off areas of land to newspaper companies, and over the years Fleet Street became and remains a byword (or words) for the industry despite most papers moving to the newly redeveloped Docklands in the late 1980's.
Prince Henry's Room sits on the first floor of a former tavern above the Temple gateway. This is decorated with the feathers of Prince Henry, first son of James I, who died aged 18. Had he lived, there probably wouldn't have been a Civil War as Charles wouldn't have become king. This building survived the Great Fire of 1666, one of the few in Fleet Street that did. Across the road is allegedly the shop of Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street.
The Cheshire Cheese pub was the first building to open in the area after the fire, and is unchanged since. Famous patrons included Samuel Johnson and Charles Dickens. Other famous buildings include St Brides Church, whose steeple inspired pastry cook William Rich to model a multi-tiered wedding cake on it, thus beginning a tradition that endures to this day.
Louis Rothman sold his cigarettes in Fleet Street, also inventing menthol ones, while Britain's first bank (though now a branch of the RBS) stood on Fleet Street, portrayed as Tellson's Bank in Dickens's "A Tale of Two Cities". Thomas Paine's "Rights of Man" was first printed in Fleet Street.
The area is full of interesting alleyways and on a Monopoly pub crawl there is plenty of choice. However, once again, properties on this road do not come cheap.
No longer full of pigeons and home to the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, St Martins In the Fields church and a very famous monument of a very famous sailor, Trafalgar Square sits right in the very centre of London. Contrary to the popular image, or to what people claim they've seen, EH Baily's sculpture does not wear an eye patch, nor did Nelson ever wear one in real life. The bronze lions were cast by Edwin Landseer, who painted the Monarch of the Glen, and were erected 25 years after the column. Landseer also gave rise to the myth that St Bernard dogs carry brandy barrels around their necks after painting one in his "Alpine Mastiffs Reanimating a Distressed Traveller" painting. Brandy would in fact kill a hypothermia sufferer. There are still scorch marks on the base of Nelson's Column from celebratory fires lit at the end of the First World War.
Until the entire square was pedestrianised in the early 21st century, Trafalgar Square was the main place to catch a night bus in London and was always full of worse for wear post-clubbers at all hours of the morning. Up until the millennium, it was the main gathering place of a New Years Eve, where drunken revellers would leap into the fountains. Now, with the fireworks every year, Waterloo has become the place to be if you enjoy being jammed in a crowd for hours unable to move.
The Christmas tree in the square is sent every year from Norway, as a thanks for Britain's help during World War II (probably ironically). The fourth plinth in the square was originally intended for a statue of William IV but the money ran out. It is now the temporary home of some contemporary sculpture or other. The statue of Charles I is the oldest bronze statue in Britain and was hidden by a brazier who had been ordered to melt it down during the interregnum. All distances in London are measured from it.
Despite its Monopoly price, it is unlikely that it is possible to buy or rent residential property here, despite an old music hall song that states "I Live in Trafalgar Square". Previously famous for its pigeons, feeding the birds was outlawed here at the beginning of the 21st century and with the use of a trained hawk, the square is now virtually pigeon free.
Fenchurch Street Station
Fenchurch Street is the oldest of the stations on the Monopoly board, but unless you have to pass through it, it's one of those places you've heard of and never been to. It is the only mainline terminal in London that has no underground, which is why nobody knows where it is.
It is actually marked in very tiny writing on the tube map next to Tower Hill underground station in the bottom right-hand corner of the circle line. This is the station for the Tower of London, and the north side of the bridge. Fenchurch Street is tucked away on the edge of the city nearby. The Walkie Talkie building is at number 20, but unless you are working in the area or really looking for the station, it is probably one place on the Monopoly board you are unlikely to visit. A shame, as architecturally it is more attractive than the other three stations on the board.
Long having been a cheap laugh for Londoners hearing tourists pronouncing it wrongly, Leicester (pronounced Lester) Square is the heart of London's cinemaland and many red carpets have appeared over the years for premieres. The Odeon is the largest cinema in the UK, and was redeveloped in 2018 and reopened with eyewateringly high ticket prices, even for the West End. It was the first cinema in Europe to have a digital projector.
William Hogarth lived in Leicester Square and produced Gin Lane and the Rake's Progress there. During a phone call in a box in the square, one Maurice Micklewhite saw a poster for "The Caine Mutiny" and changed his name to Michael Caine.
In 1979, Leicester Square became the face of Britain's Winter of Discontent as the dustmen went on strike and enormous piles of rubbish in the square were on the front of every newspaper with huge rats running amock amongst them. However, it seems property prices have recovered from those days, though like Trafalgar Square, it is mainly non-residential, unless you count the rough sleepers.
Not the place that Lady Godiva rode naked, but actually the short street between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. Coventry Street was originally famous for its gambling clubs after the Restoration and named after Charles II's secretary of state, Henry Coventry. During the 1920's there were rumours of a vampire stalking the street after two people were attacked with puncture wounds to their necks. The story circulated that it had been killed and removed to Highgate Cemetery in North London (where Karl Marx is buried) and supposedly rose again in the 70's leading to a wave of ghoulish sightseers and would-be Van Helsings causing untold damage to the cemetery.
A retail and entertainment thoroughfare rather than a residential street, it was famous for its clubs at the time Monopoly was created. The Trocadero, which at the time of writing is being redeveloped into a hotel, stands on Coventry Street. It has undergone numerous incarnations as a restaurant, nightclub, amusement arcade and more. Right at the heart of tourist London, Coventry Street is always very busy and like most of the West End, it is prudent to watch your valuables as the pickpockets in the area are extremely skillful.
Taking its name from a type of collar called a "piccadil" that was sold in the area, Piccadilly is the thoroughfare that runs from Piccadilly Circus to Hyde Park Corner as part of the A4 west out of London. In the circus are the famous advertising hoardes, and the world's first aluminium statue, possibly London's most famous case of mistaken identity. There are many controversial claims about this statue. When the statue was first unveiled, there were complaints about its nudity. It is actually Anteros, the god of requited love and Eros's twin brother but was assumed to be Eros due to most people's lack of classical knowledge and the name stuck. It is also called the Angel of Christian Charity. There is an urban myth that it is facing the wrong way, having been taken down for safekeeping during World War II then replaced facing the opposite direction. This is untrue, as it always pointed down Lower Regent Street towards the home of the Earl of Shaftesbury, whom it was built as a monument to. The entire fountain itself was repositioned in the 1930's.
Lord Byron, Aldous Huxley, William Gladstone and Terence Stamp have all lived in the Albany apartments, just off the main road. In 1707, the Queen's grocers, Fortnum and Mason was founded, which became the first store in Britain to sell both Henry J Heinz's canned food ("I think, Mr Heinz, we'll take the lot!"), and soft toilet paper, which was sold euphemistically as "curling paper". The clock at the front features Mr Fortnum and Mr Mason who turn and bow to each other on the hour.
The Royal Academy of Arts, the Society of Antiquaries, the Chemical Society, the Geological Society, the Royal Astronomical Society and the Lineal Society all have their headquarters in Burlington House, the latter being the place Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace presented their paper on evolution in 1858.
Hatchards Book Store on Piccadilly was used by Wilberforce's Clapham Sect for many abolitionist meetings. It still hosts book signings and has books on just about anything.
Probably the most famous hotel in the world, The Ritz stands just by Green Park Station on Piccadilly. It was the first hotel in London to have all en-suite rooms and gave us the word "ritzy", meaning luxurious. It was the first steel framed building in England.
Hyde Park Corner at the western end of the street is known as the "busiest corner in the world". A main thoroughfare in several directions, Apsley House, former home of the Duke of Wellington stands at the north side while various monuments, statues and the imposing Wellington Arch stand in the middle of the roundabout, leaving it looking peculiar but still impressive. Wellington was known as the Iron Duke, not because of his personality but because he had iron shutters put up to protect his windows as crowds gathered to protest at his opposition to universal suffrage and parliamentary reform in 1830.
Piccadilly is the most expensive of the yellow set in Monopoly, but if one can afford to pay that sort of money, why would one choose to live on a busy main road?
Laid out in elegant Georgian crescents, the name gives the onlooker a clue as to the origins of this street that runs from Charles II Street as a continuation of Waterloo Place, bisecting Oxford Street at Oxford Circus, then down to Piccadilly Circus. The street was actually completed after the death of George IV (former Prince Regent) and has various architectural involvement, the original being John Nash who laid out the street. In the 19th century, Regent Street became the first street to have late night opening for stores.
Broadcasting House, the headquarters of the BBC is on the north side of Regent Street. On the other is the main campus of the University of Westminster which houses the Regent Street Cinema, which screened the first ever motion picture in Britain, a short by the Lumiere Brothers. The first daguerreotype photographs in Britain were processed on Regent Street.
In 1926, the oldest Indian restaurant in Britain, Veeraswamy, opened on Regent Street and was patronised by Mahatma Gandhi. Other notable institutions include Hamleys, spread over six floors and complete with demonstrators. Enchanting to children of all ages, it is the largest toy shop in the world.
Regent Street is famous for its Christmas lights, which are more elegant than the ones in Oxford Street round the corner. Generally more chic than the latter, Regent Street was a fashionable place to live in the 19th century, though since Monopoly's creation, the street has given way to commerce and there are few people living there today.
The UK's busiest shopping street runs from Tottenham Court Road's junction with Charing Cross Road at one end and Marble Arch at the other. Marble Arch is close to the site of the Tyburn Tree, a large triangular gallows, and was the main spot for public executions. An engraved plaque on the pavement marks the site where the gallows stood.
Famous for its department stores, the first in the UK was John Lewis, which opened in 1864 as a haberdashery.
Oxford Street's largest store is Selfridges, Gordon Selfridge coining the phrase "the customer is always right." In 1925, John Logie Baird gave the first public demonstration of television at Selfridges.
The first HMV store was opened on Oxford Street by Edward Elgar. The Beatles made their first demo here in 1961. The building has a blue plaque outside. Another musical connection is the 100 Club, famous for both its jazz and for its punk festivals in the 1970's.
The first motor museum in the world stood on Oxford Street and featured the first British petrol driven car. The building is now the Lush Cosmetics store.
Oxford Street is a mish-mash of tacky tourist outlets, elegant department stores and coffee shops. It is nearly always packed with shoppers, beggars, charity collectors and pickpockets. People often have a tendency to stop dead for no reason in the middle of the pavement causing much irritation.
Like Regent Street, though possibly a handful of residents live here, many sleep on the street. Oxford Street is a byword for the West End retail world and was the same when Monopoly was created.
Far more exclusive than Oxford Street, Bond Street is the more expensive card in the green set on the Monopoly board. Bond Street is actually Old and New Bond Street joined together, but as the underground station is simply Bond Street, despite it not being on the street in question, the whole road is referred to as this.
Bond Street is the home of the London branch of the New York jewellers Tiffany's, as well as both Sotherbys and Bonhams auction houses. The Ancient Egyptian sculture above the door of Sotherbys dates back to 1600 BC. It is the oldest man-made object in London. Another famous sculpture is Lawrence Holofcener's "Allies", of Winston Churchill and Franklin D Roosevelt sitting on a park bench together.
As well as luxury shopping, there is also a centre for Kabbalism on Bond street. Once famous for its antique shops and galleries, only a handful remain. Its value in relation to its Monopoly price is probably similar today. Both Bond Streets are known more for expensive retail rather than being residential, though a number of people still live here.
Liverpool Street Station
Redeveloped in the late 1980's, then subsequently damaged and rebuilt again after an IRA bomb in Bishopsgate, the main street it stands on, Liverpool Street Station was named after the early 19th century prime minister Lord Liverpool and was built on the site of the first Bethlehem (Bedlam) hospital for the insane which moved to what is now the Imperial War Museum.
During the First World War, the station was hit by three bombs during an air raid and 162 people were killed. During the run-up to World War II, Liverpool Street was the arrival point for the Jewish Kindertransport children rescued from Nazi Germany, Austria and Sudetenland after Kristallnacht, after embarking at Harwich. Two statues commemorating this stand outside the station and in the main concourse by the underground entrance. During the war, part of the station was damaged from a nearby bomb, though the station itself was not directly hit. Its tube station was a main air-raid shelter for the area during the Blitz.
The Great Eastern Hotel next to the station was the first hotel in the City of London (the square mile as opposed to the entire London). Liverpool Street is being incorporated into the new Crossrail development for London. During excavations for this, a 17th century mass burial pit was discovered.
Standing on the edge of the City, Liverpool Street station is surrounded by trendy bars and is the main station for shoppers for nearby Spitalfields Market.
Running up alongside the eastern side of Hyde Park from Hyde Park Corner to Marble Arch, Park Lane is one of the busiest and most expensive roads in London. Despite being a very busy road, it is a highly desirable address to have. Benjamin Disraeli, Louis Mountbatten and Fred Astaire all lived on Park Lane. Current residents include the former Harrods owner Mohammed Al-Fayed, which gives you an idea of the sort of money you need to live here.
Famous hotels on Park Lane include the London Hilton, The Dorchester, The Intercontinental and the Sheraton Grand. During World War II, Eisenhower stayed at the Dorchester and made it his headquarters and during the 1960's and 70's it was famous as the hotel where Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor used to stay.
Several car dealerships stand on Park Lane as well as a more recent addition, a monument to Animals in War. Its exclusivity is reflected in it being the second most expensive property on the Monopoly board and it is just as expensive today as it ever was.
This area was known for its May fair that took place in what is now Shepherd Market until the late 18th century. It was acquired by the Grosvenor family whose eponymous square is the second largest in London and houses the American Embassy. Established by John Adams, it is the largest embassy in the UK. Mayfair is home to three squares, Grosvenor, Hanover and Berkeley, the third of which is immortalised in the song "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square". Queen Elizabeth II was born nearby.
William Claridge opened his hotel on Brook Street in 1855. It was subsequently bought by Richard D'Oyly Carte, owner of the Savoy who had it demolished and rebuilt to his specifications. During World War II, many European royals in exile stayed at Claridges. On state visits it is customary to invite the monarch to dine at Claridges in return for hospitality at Buckingham Palace.
On the same street can be found blue plaques next door to each other on the house of Handel and the first floor flat of Jimi Hendrix, who, despite being American, became the first rock star to have a blue plaque dedicated to him. Another musical connection on Curzon Street is the flat where Mama Cass in 1974 and four years later, Keith Moon both died. On Albermarle Street, Michael Faraday invented the electric generator and the principles that led to the invention of the telegraph. Bell made the first long distance phone call from the same street. Savile Row is famous for its tailors, and the Beatles gave their last performance on the roof of their Savile Row Apple studios in 1969. In 1886, James Potter of Tuxedo Park, New York was a guest of the Prince of Wales and liked the prince's jacket so much he asked if he could have one made for himself by the prince's tailor in Savile Row. On his return to the US, Potter wore it at the Tuxedo Park club, starting a trend. Hence dinner jackets in the US became known as tuxedos.
As eyewateringly pricey as it always has been since the 18th century, Mayfair is the most expensive property on the Monopoly board and probably the most expensive part of London itself.
British Newspaper Archives (Local London History)
Open University Library
London, The Biography-Peter Ackroyd
I Never Knew That About London-Christopher Winn
History of London-Helen Irvine-Douglas