The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 20 Covent Garden, Kingsway, Lincoln's Inn Fields


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At the south end of Drury Lane is ALDWYCH, a handsome crescent, 100 feet wide, which leaves the north side of the Strand at the Gaiety Theatre and rejoins it at St. Clement Danes, enclosing an �island-block� between itself and the Strand. This crescent, the name of which refers to the old colony (Aldwych) of Danes in this neighbourhood before the Conquest, was constructed during the extensive �Strand improvements� of 1898-1905. The first building on the left (north) side of the crescent is the office of the �Morning Post�. Farther on are the Strand Theatre, the Waldorf Hotel, and the Aldwych Theatre (at the corner of Drury Lane). The remaining quadrant, beyond Kingsway, is occupied by large office buildings. On the south side of the crescent the conspicuous feature is Bush House, whose huge portal directly faces Kingsway. From the apex of the Aldwych crescent KINGSWAY, 100 feet in width, runs north north west to (? mile). Holborn, which it reaches just opposite Southampton Row. It is traversed by a shallow underground tramway connecting by a tunnel with the Victoria Embankment on the south and emerging on the north at Theobalds Road. Kingsway contains many substantial commercial and other edifices, some offering good examples of engineer's architecture. On the right (east) side, near the corner, are the Air Ministry, whose windows exhibit meteorological charts and weather forecasts, and a depot of the Stationery Office. On the same side, beyond Portugal St., is the Stoll Picture Theatre, erected (as the London Opera House) for Mr. Oscar Hammerstein. Portgual St. leads to CLARE MARKET, named after the Earls of Clare, once a slum district associated with the Dames of Jack Sheppard and Dick Turpin. On the right is the Passmore Edwards Hall (1902), occupied by the London School of Economics and Political Science, & School of the University of London. The extensive premises of Messrs. W. H. Smith & Son, in Carey St., occupy the former site of King's College Hospital, once the cemetery of St. Clement Danes, in which Joe Miller of the Jestbook (died 1788) was buried. Portsmouth Street, leading from Portugal St. to Lincoln's Inn Fields, claims to contain the original of Dickens's �Old Curiosity Shop,� which, however, really Stood about the site of Irving's statue in Charing Cross Road.