If we carry on walking down the Strand away from Charing Cross station, we soon see, on the north side of the street, the imposing sight of Coutts bank:
Dickens would probably be pleased to see that his old bank is still on the Strand, although it used to be on the other side of the street:
I have passed all my days in London, until I have formed as many and intense local attachments as any of you mountaineers can have done with dead nature. The lighted shops of the Strand and Fleet Street; the innumerable trades, tradesmen and customers; coaches, wagons, playhouses; all the bustle and wickedness round about Covent Garden; the very women of the town, the watchmen, drunken scenes, rattles - life awake, if you awake, at all hours of the night... Read more »
Northumberland House was one of the last survivors of the noblemen’s palaces which originally lined the Strand. It stood on the south side of Trafalgar Square at the start of the Strand, and was recognised by its distinctive lion on the top of the roof. This lion is the symbol of the Dukes of Northumberland, and its twin now stands on the gates to Syon Park in West London. It's strange to think that, before the rapid expansion of London, Syon Park would have been considered a country residence in the early nineteenth-century! Read more »
To me, Charing Cross Station is such a fixture of the western end of the Strand that is difficult to think that it is not yet 150 years old. I pass the station often when I leave the tube at Embankment on my way to King's College. In the nineteenth-century, Charing Cross was an example of industrial modernity overwriting the old city.
Charing Cross Station opened in 1864, and the hotel opened a year later. The Illustrated London News portrayed it as both a glowing symbol of modernity, and a gothic monster, lowering in the heart of the city.
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The Following article by Matthew Sweet appeared in the Observer Magazine on 30th October 2011. It's certainly a fascinating read for anyone interested in the history of The Savoy (and other London hotels) and experiences on the Strand during the second world war.
Trafalgar Square has long been associated with national celebrations. The present Queen marked her Silver Jubilee in 1977 with a carriage procession from Buckingham Palace which went through Trafalgar Square and down the Strand.
She followed in the path of Queen Victoria, who was proclaimed Queen at Charing Cross in 1837, and in 1887 marked her jubilee with a procession along the same route.