The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 14 Oxford Street

Marble Arch

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14. OXFORD STREET. STATIONS. The Central London Railway runs beneath this thoroughfare, with stations at Marble Arch, Bond Street, Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, British Museum, and Chancery Lane. Oxford Circus is likewise a station on the Bakerloo Tube, and Tottenham Court Road on the Hampstead Tube. Holborn is on the Piccadilly Tube. - OMNIBUSES Nos. 7, 8, 107, 184, 185 traverse the whole line of street, Nos. 6, 12, 13, 15, 22, 23, 25, 26, 32, 48, 73, 88 only part of it. Just outside the north-east corner of Hyde Park the four important thoroughfares of Park Lane, Oxford St., Edgware Road, and Bayswater Road radiate from a broad open space. Here, in a now somewhat purposeless position in the centre of the traffic, stands the Marble Arch, a triumphal arch designed by Nash more or less after the model of the Arch of Constantine at Rome, and originally erected in 1828 in front of the chief entrance to Buckingham Palace. It was removed in 1850-51 to its present site, where it formed an actual entrance to Hyde Park until (in 1908) the park-railings receded before the increasing volume of traffic at this point. The sculptured groups on the north side are by Westmacott, those on the south by Baily. The bronze gates are fine. At the Marble Arch the visitor is close to the site of Tyburn, the famous place of execution, to which during many centuries victims were dragged through the centre of the city from the Tower or from Newgate. The first recorded execution took place here in 1196, the last in 1783. During most of this period the gallows was taken down after each execution, but from 1571 to 1759 'Tyburn Tree,' a permanent triangular gallows, stood on the spot now indicated by a small granite triangle let into the roadway a few feet to the south-west of the 'refuge' at the south end of Edgware Road. This gallows was removed in 1759 to make way for a turnpike toll-house, itself removed in 1829; and in 1783 Newgate became the place of execution. In 1661 the bodies of Cromwell, Ireton, and Bradshaw were exposed here for twelve hours after they were exhumed from Westminster Abbey. Amongst those who suffered at Tyburn were the Holy Maid of Kent (1534), Claude Duval (1670), Jack Sheppard (1724), Jonathan Wild (1725), Earl Ferrers (1760), Mrs. Brownrigg (1767), and Dr. Dodd (1777), whom Dr. Johnson exerted himself in vain to save from the gallows. Edmund Campion (1581) and other seminary priests likewise suffered here. The house called No. 5 Marble Arch, at the beginning of Oxford St., was occupied by Charles Dickens shortly before his death in 1870. The Chapel of the Ascension lies about + mile west of the Marble Arch.