Victorian remains in London

London's chock-full of them

Absolutely everything about the Victorian era was brilliant. (Apart from the pestilence, inequality, dicey medicine, questionable human rights and, frankly, brown food).

But it's always the era that history books hark back to when referencing Britain's great, productive, industrial, pioneering past.

So if you want a taste of that magnificent yesteryear right here on your doorstep, go and see some of these remains of London's Victoriana.




Liverpool Street Railway Station
Liverpool Street The City EC2M 7PN
Region: The City
Nearest Station: Liverpool Street

AIL Says: The magnificent cast iron and brickwork of this busy station is typical of the design popular in 1874, when it was first erected. But what few people know is that it was built on the site of what used to be Bedlam, the colloquial name for Bethlehem Hospital. This was England's first psychiatric hospital, and remains a grim note in London's history as it was a popular destination for visitors to gawp at the patients, as if it was a zoo.

  • MAINLINE STATIONS
Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey)
Old Bailey

AIL Says: Before becoming the central court for England and Wales in 1907, this was where the infamous Newgate Prison stood. So atrocious were the conditions - which included disease and violence inflicted by the prison wardens, not to mention public executions - that a genre of lurid literature called the Newgate novel was birthed. Although technically the Victorian era ended in 1901, the prison was at its notorious peak during the famous monarch's reign.

  • LANDMARK
Embankment Pier
Embankment Pier Victoria Embankment Charing Cross WC2N 6NU
Region: Charing Cross
Nearest Station: Embankment

AIL Says: The river walk that runs along the Thames from Westminster Palace to Blackfriars Bridge was built to help the flow of the heavily polluted river in 1870. It was constructed because during a particularly hot summer the smell of the water became unbearable, to the point where MPs had to be evacuated from the Houses of Parliament. At least it's a lot more pleasant now, as the walk takes in the sights of Cleopatra's Needle, the London Eye and Somerset House.

  • FERRY TERMINALS
Harrods, Knightsbridge
87 - 135 Brompton Road Knightsbridge

AIL Says: Their motto is Omnia Omnibus Ubique, which means 'all things for all people everywhere', ironic given how costly pretty much everything on sale is here. The most famous department store in the world opened in 1849, and it also had England's first escalators when they were installed in 1898. Today it's a Grade II listed building.

  • SHOPPING
Waterloo Railway Station
York Road Lambeth SE1 7NZ
Region: Lambeth
Nearest Station: Waterloo (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Did you know that Waterloo Station once had an adjoining bit called London Necropolis railway station? And yes, it does have to do with death. The word 'necropolis' means cemetery, however there wasn't actually a graveyard here. The railway was established in 1854 to transport bodies to a burial ground in Surrey, because of the overcrowding of cemeteries in London. It can also lay claim to having the best natural lighting of any station in the capital, thanks to its glazed roof.

  • MAINLINE STATIONS
Royal Courts of Justice
Strand

AIL Says: It boasts a glorious fa├žade of neo-gothic design, but its building was not without its perils. Architect George Edmund Street died before it opened, largely because of overwork and stress, feeling extremely pressurised by the royal commission from Queen Victoria. It's home to the High Court and the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, it's open to the public, and visitors can also attend trials.

  • LANDMARK
The Roundhouse Camden
Farm Road, Camden

AIL Says: When it first opened in 1846 its purpose was as a warehouse for steam engine repairs. It then became a corn and potato warehouse, and then a gin distillery. It wasn't until the 60s when it was turned into an arts centre, and later a squat until it was transformed into the live music venue it is today. The cone-shaped roof which gives it its name was the first of its kind in Victorian Great Britain.

  • VENUE
  • EVENTS
  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
The Ten Bells
84 Commercial Street E1 6LY
Region: Spitalfields
Nearest Station: Aldgate East (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: Nowadays it's a trendy Shoreditch gastropub, but it's famous in no small part for being the boozer two of Jack the Ripper's victims used to frequent in the 1880s. Its first location was on Red Lion Street, where it was built in the early 18th century, but it moved to its current home on Commercial Street in the 1850s. Thanks to its splendid architecture (and no doubt, important history), it's a Grade II listed building.

  • OUR REVIEW 7/10
  • USERS 8/10
Charles Dickens Museum
48 Doughty Street

AIL Says: The world-famous chronicler of the Victorian period lived at 48 Doughty Street, near Gray's Inn Road, for two years. Despite spending such a short time here there is a fantastic selection of his furniture, manuscripts and rare books on display. Even though his house dates back to the Georgian era, the museum gathers the most important collection of Victorian artefacts in the world, and is also where he wrote Oliver Twist, among others.

  • MUSEUM
  • USERS 9/10
Piccadilly Circus


AIL Says: The world-famous chronicler of the Victorian period lived at 48 Doughty Street, near Gray's Inn Road, for two years. Despite spending such a short time here there is a fantastic selection of his furniture, manuscripts and rare books on display. Even though his house dates back to the Georgian era, the museum gathers the most important collection of Victorian artefacts in the world, and is also where he wrote Oliver Twist, among others.

  • LANDMARK


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