The Garden Guide

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

Oxford Circus

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A little farther on we reach Oxford Circus, where Oxford St. intersects Regent St. Here, on the south side, are stations of the Central London Railway and of the Bakerloo Tube. In Argyll St., which passes between these stations, is the Palladium Music Hall. Great Portland Street, on the left, in which are the Central Synagogue and the Philharmonic Hall, leads to Great Portland St. Station. Boswell died at No. 47 (now 122) in 1795; Weber, the composer, at No. 91 (now 103) in 1826; Sir Henry Bishop was born at No. 83 in 1786. No. 173 Oxford St. (on the south side), now Messrs. Gilbey's offices, is worth a glance as the former Pantheon, ' the new winter Ranelagh in Oxford Road.' The first Pantheon was opened in 1772 and enjoyed a brief prosperity for 20 years before it was burned down. The present Pantheon, the third on the site, was built in 1813, became a bazaar, and was closed in 1867. Farther on the streets diverging on the right from Oxford St. lead into the district of Soho, while those on the north traverse another somewhat foreign quarter. Berners Street is noted for the 'great Berners St. hoax,' by which Theodore Hook for a wager overwhelmed a modest residence in this street by directing to it a stream of unexpected goods of every description, including a hearse. Facing the end of this street, in Mortimer St., is the Middlesex Hospital. Coleridge resided for eighteen months in 1812-13 at No. 71 Berners St. (rebuilt). In Newman Street, the next street to the east, Benjamin West (1738-1820) lived for 45 years at No. 14 (rebuilt). Thomas Stothard (1755-1834) died at No. 28 (tablet). James Barry, the painter (1741-1806), lived at No. 36 Eastcastle St. in 1777-83. Passing the Frascati Restaurant, on the left, we reach St. Giles's Circus at the south end of Tottenham Court Road, a busy point of intersection for omnibus-routes, with Charing Cross Road leading to the south. Here are the Tottenham Court Road Stations of two Tubes. Beyond this point the main thoroughfare eastwards is known as New Oxford Street, and the shops gradually cease to cater so largely for feminine requirements. To the north lies the district of Bloomsbury, and various short side-streets, e.g. Museum St., at the corner of which is Mudie's, the well-known circulating library, lead to Great Russell Street, in which is the British Museum (Walk 37). In Hart Street, leading from Oxford St. to Bloomsbury Square, is St. George's, Bloomsbury, a church built in 1731 by Hawksmoor with an imposing classic portico and a steeple surmounted by a statue of George I. The stepped design of the steeple is said to have been founded on Pliny's description of the ' pyramid ' of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. The Reverand Laurence Veal's school, attended by George Osborne (in ' Vanity Fair '), was in Hart Street.