The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 51.510065, -0.089050


This text was copied from Wikipedia on 8 June 2024 at 4:11AM.

Looking east down Thames Street, at the London Bridge underpass, in c. 1965 (left) and in 2013 (right). The street has clearly become a major thoroughfare in today's City of London.

Thames Street, divided into Lower and Upper Thames Street, is a road in the City of London, the historic and financial centre of London.[1] It forms part of the busy A3211 route (prior to being rebuilt as a major thoroughfare in the late 1960s, it was the B132) from Tower Hill to Westminster. The London Bridge underpass marks the divide between Upper and Lower Thames Street, with Lower to the east and Upper to the west.


Thames Street is mentioned in the diary of Samuel Pepys. The first mention of the road, however, is from 1013 when the custom house was founded on the street.[2][3] During the reign of King Henry VIII, the street contained the London residences of many courtiers, including that of William Compton, where Henry VIII allegedly met his mistresses.[4]

Twentieth century

In the culture of the 20th century, the street is probably best remembered for its place in T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land:

O city city, I can sometimes hear
Beside a public bar in Lower Thames Street,
The pleasant whining of a mandoline
And a clatter and a chatter from within
Where fishmen lounge at noon: where the walls
Of Magnus Martyr hold
Inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold.

At 101 Lower Thames Street, remains of a Roman bath were excavated. They are preserved in the cellar of the modern building on the site.

Little evidence of the street's history remains, in a large part due to the Blitz and post-War redevelopment, and it now contains many office buildings, including the headquarters of the Daily Express newspaper. The London Fire Brigade's fire investigation unit is based at Dowgate fire station on Upper Thames Street at the corner of Allhallows Lane; the station is the only one within the City of London. The most notable change is at the western end of the thoroughfare, which dramatically altered its course as part of major works of the 1960s, involving the reclaiming of foreshore of the Thames at Puddle Dock.

Twenty-first century

Lower Thames Street formed part of the marathon course of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The women's Olympic marathon took place on 5 August and the men's on 12 August. The Paralympic marathons were held on 9 September.[5][6]

See also


  1. ^ "Lower Thames Street", Old and New London: Volume 2 (1878), pp. 41–60.
  2. ^ The parliamentary gazetteer of England and Wales
  3. ^ History "Lower Thames Street" - Google Search
  4. ^ Hart, Kelly (1 June 2009). The Mistresses of Henry VIII (First ed.). The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-4835-0.
  5. ^ "London 2012 marathon men Results - Olympic athletics". Archived from the original on 30 April 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
  6. ^ "London 2012 marathon women Results - Olympic athletics". Archived from the original on 2 May 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2012.

Further reading

51°30′35″N 0°5′15″W / 51.50972°N 0.08750°W / 51.50972; -0.08750

4 Annotations

First Reading

Phil  •  Link

Thames Street, which can be seen running East/West along the lower part of this map… , appears to now be split into Upper Thames Street and Lower Thames Street.

Pauline  •  Link

from L&M Companion
One of the most spacious of London streets, it ran from Tower Hill west past the Custom House, Billingsgate, London Bridge and Queenhithe to Puddle Dock (the modern, w. end of Queen Victoria St).Parallel to the line of wharves and landing stairs and connected to them by frequent short, narrow lanes, it was a centre for the commodity importers and always thronged with carts and drays. After the Fire, rubble from the burnt houses was used to raise it above flood level and to reduce the steep ascent to the line of Eastcheap and Cannon St. it was still, despite its widening, too narrow for the traffice seeking to use it. Now divided above and below London Bridge into Upper and Lower Thames St respectively.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Thames Street, on the north bank of the Thames, stretches from Blackfriars Bridge to the Tower, and is rather more than a mile in length. That part of the street below London Bridge is called Lower Thames Street, that above, Upper Thames Street. The eastern end of Thames Street was sometimes called Petty Wales, and also occasionally Galley Row. That part of Thames Street which lies in Bridge Ward formerly bore the name of Stockfishmonger Row.
John Chaucer, the poet's father, was a vintner in Thames Street, and the poet himself lived there for many years. In the 14th century the river front of Thames Street exhibited numerous handsome buildings, but these were destroyed by the fire and not rebuilt.
In Thames Street stood formerly Baynard's Castle, and the Steelyard.
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.








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