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Monday, 17 February 2014

London Monopoly (21): Oxford Street

A further stop in my journey around the London Monopoly board.
Selfridge's, Oxford Street, London. Opened in 1909.
At one and a half miles long Oxford Street is Europe's busiest shopping street. For the main part it is full of all the multinational and international stores that most UK High Street's will have; the big names cannot afford not to be there. This makes it rather unremarkable in some ways. Toward the eastern end at the junction of Tottenham Court Road and Charing Cross Road there are the relatively smaller stores with a few independents and nearer to the western end at Marble Arch, near one corner of Hyde Park there is, for me, the saving grace of Oxford Street - the department stores. Personally I think Selfridge's is the best of these.
It is rather underrated but I prefer it to Harrod's. Somehow the staff seem to be less under pressure and are more pleasant and there is an excellent bookshop.
Oxford Street is only open to taxicabs and buses and no other private or commercial vehicles during the day.
Oxford Street is known to have existed for at least two thousands years but not under that name of course. The Romans called it Via Trinobantina and it formed part of the route into London from the south-west (Hampshire) and out to the north-east (Colchester in Essex). It was the route that condemned prisoners were taken by from Newgate (now the Old Bailey Criminal Court) to Tyburn to be hanged (now Marble Arch). Incidentally people are hanged whereas pictures are hung!
Oxford Street after a heavy German bombing raid in April 1943 (Getty Images)
Oxford Street today
At the halfway point is Oxford Circus, which is where Regent Street crosses Oxford Street. It features something unique for London - diagonal pedestrian crossings.


klahanie said...

Greetings human, Bazza,

I have a cavalcade of shopping assistants with me whenever I go to Harrod's.

I noticed quite a few clowns at Oxford Circus. A fascinating insight, as per usual, my esteemed human friend.

Pawsitive wishes,

Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

bazza said...

From Bazza’s cat Ginger:
Hi Penny. Bazza has let me respond to your comment. He's completely under my control, you know. Humans are so stupid (especially Bazza!) I'm happy to learn that you have your personal shoppers with you in Harrod's. That's pretty cool. For a dog....

John said...

Hi Bazza,
That's always something that annoys me too! I say 'meat is hung, people are hanged'!
Fascinating post as always. Didn't know that Tyburn is modern day Marble Arch. I always learn something from your posts.

bazza said...

Hello John. Well the learning thing is mutual. Many modern London landmarks conceal some hidden unsavoury history!

Anonymous said...

The rather charming Sir Tom Eagerly says:
Ah, Oxford Street.... I think Daddy used to own it you know. The family just owns a few acres of Mayfair now. Hard times indeed.
Cheers old boy!

bazza said...

Sir Tom: Sometimes I think you are the only person in your little world. I hope you don't expect commission when my London Monopoly Board series moves to Mayfair?

Sherry Ellis said...

It's fascinating to see pictures of a place sixty years ago, and then see how it looks today.

bazza said...

Hi Sherry. Yes, and even more interesting seventy years ago! :-)

rhymeswithplague said...

Some people are hung, but that would be an entirely different post.

bazza said...

Touché.....ha ha!