London: Pt 25 – The London Monopoly Board

So this is it, the last stop on our 25 part London adventure, possibly our most epic trip so far. 1 of the most popular games, played throughout the world, is Monopoly, originally created in the USA in 1903 showcasing areas in Atlantic City. Perhaps its more famous edition came out in 1936, based around London. During the course of our trip we came across many areas, stations or streets featured on the London version. Anyway, off we go! (All squares are presented in the order they appear when following the board Clockwise from Go).

Old Kent Road/Whitechapel Road

Sadly these were 2 of the very few squares on the board we never made it to in London, with Old Kent Road lying in Southwark away from the main tourist spots, and Whitechapel Road running from Tower Hamlets into the City of London close to Fenchurch Street Railway Station.

Whitechapel is of course famous as the location of the notorious Jack the Ripper murders committed in 1888 by a still unknown assailant.

The Angel Islington, Euston Road & Pentonville Road

The square called “The Angel, Islington” is the only space on the board that is named after an actual building, not a street/area. You can see it in the 1st picture, in the form of the large terracotta building on the corner. The name originated with a pub called the “Angel Inn” built in the 16th century, and has been carried on through various incarnations of the structure up to 1903 when the current version opened as a Pub. It is now owned by the Co-Operative Bank, and lies just outside the similarly named “Angel” tube station on the London Underground in the Borough of Islington.

The Angel also sits at the intersection of the A1 (major route between London & Edinburgh) and Pentonville Road, the next stop on the board. If you follow Pentonville Road West for around a mile, you will meet up with “Euston Road” which runs past the famous Clock Tower/Exterior of London St Pancras International station, terminus of the Midland Main Line towards Sheffield, and Eurostar Services to France & Belgium.

Its next stop is then London Euston, terminus of the West Coast Main Line from London – Edinburgh/Glasgow. The line is used by Virgin’s famous Pendolino Tilting Trains, which you can see at 1 of the platforms in the picture above.

Pall Mall, Whitehall & Northumberland Avenue

Our next set of areas lie in central Westminster, starting with Pall Mall. Sadly we didn’t see the road itself, but came very close as it runs directly parallel with the Mall (between Buckingham Palace – Trafalgar Square via Admiralty Arch). Pall Mall begins at St James Palace, heading East to meet the A4 (Haymarket), which had you followed it North would take you to Piccadilly Circus. Pall Mall East starts at the far side of the A4 and runs in an arc around the far side of the Canadian High Commission, and into Trafalgar Square next to the Western fountain, shown above.

The next pink stop on the board is “Whitehall”, 1 of the most important streets in the United Kingdom. It runs South from Trafalgar Square, past many Government departments, including:

  • The War Office
  • Horse Guards Parade
  • Downing Street
  • The Cenotaph
  • Churchill’s War Rooms

It then arrives into Parliament Square by the Palace of Westminster, home to statues of various famous Britons including Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965, Prime Minister during World War II). The picture above shows Whitehall passing the Cenotaph, erected in 1920 to the designs of Edward Lutyens (1869 – 1944, London Architect) after World War I to commemorate the fallen British Soldiers.

Thanks to the various Government offices on Whitehall, the term Whitehall is synonymous with the British Government, similar to Westminster.

Next up is another road which terminates at Trafalgar Square, called Northumberland Avenue. Whilst it lacks as many buildings of note as its predecessor, Whitehall, it is still a major road connecting Trafalgar with Embankment down by the Thames, close to Embankment Tube Station.

You can see Northumberland Avenue in the centre of the picture, as the road coming into the square from the left, whilst going off towards Big Ben in the distance is Whitehall, affording another great view of this famous road.

Bow Street, Marlborough Street & Vine Street

Bow Street is a small road running through the area around Covent Garden, originally laid out in the 1630’s, and the former home of Oliver Cromwell (1599 – 1658, English Leader). We came very close to finding it, however our travels never quite took us as far as the actual street.

We had much better luck however with Marlborough Street, which leaves Regent Street heading East, past the “Premises of Messrs Liberty & Company Limited”. It’s stunning design suggests great age, however it is a mock Tudor style structure completed in 1924, using the timbers from the HMS Hindustan and Impregnable, former ships of the Royal Navy. It was the purpose built home of the Liberty Department Store, and the reason we were drawn to visit this particular road as we were passing along Regent Street.

Our next stop was towards Vine Street, however the street itself is a very short offshoot of Swallow Street, itself an offshoot from Piccadilly. We did come very close however, as it is located just outside Piccadilly Circus, which contains the famous advertising billboard from 1908. It was once part of many located around the square, but today remains the sole survivor.

Strand, Fleet Street & Trafalgar Square

Moving further East, we arrived on the Strand, a street which straddles the border from the City of London into the City of Westminster. It begins outside the Royal Courts of Justice in Westminster (opened in 1882), with the border between the 2 cities running down the centre of the road, with the City of London located on the right of the picture.

It then continues West towards St Clement Danes/Saint Mary-le-Strand Churches, past Somerset House and then into Trafalgar Square, which has to be the area with the most Monopoly Squares linking to it, with at least 3 roads and Trafalgar itself being listed.

Throughout history the Strand has been home to various notable residences:

1) Essex House, home to the Earl of Leicester from 1575 until 1679.

2) Somerset House, originally built for the Duke of Somerset in the 16th century, later rebuilt in the 18th as a Government building.

3) The Savoy, a grand palace eventually replaced by the world renowned Savoy Hotel in 1889.

Continuing into the City of London itself, you will no doubt come across Fleet Street, which merges with the Strand at the Temple Bar Monument outside the Royal Courts of Justice at its Western End. In the East, a road called Ludgate Hill begins near St Pauls Cathedral and heads West to a large junction, on the far side of which it becomes Fleet Street.

The Street is named after the River Fleet, a major river beneath the Capitals streets that once flowed between the busy hustle and bustle of the metropolitan area. It was partly canalised in 1680, but this proved unpopular, and sections of the canal were eventually covered over to create new areas in London. It was finally completely hidden by the 1870s, but it does still exist.

Fleet Street is of course also famous at the home of Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street who would kill his clients, and allow them to be made into pies by his neighbour Mrs Lovett. The character 1st appeared in 1846, and remains a popular antagonist for films and plays today.

And here we are again at Trafalgar Square, with various routes available to bring you here. You could have used East Pall Mall, Whitehall, The Strand, The Mall or the A4, but none the less they will all afford you the opportunity to gaze up at Nelson’s Column, located in the centre of the square.

Completed in 1843, the 169 ft Column stands as a monument to Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758 – 1805) the British Naval Commander killed in the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The battle ended in a decisive defeat for the French Fleet, and remains 1 of Britain’s proudest moments. The bottom of the Column is flanked by 4 enormous Bronze Lions, a later addition in 1867.

Elsewhere in the square you will find the National Gallery, completed in 1838, although the Museum itself dates back to 1824. 1 of the most highly regarded Museums in the World, it features an impressive collection of thousands of pieces of artwork which date back centuries.

Leicester Square, Coventry Street & Piccadilly

Heading further West from Trafalgar Square into the outer regions of the City of Westminster, we arrived at Leicester Square, famous as the home of various cinemas/theatres in the heart of Londons East End. At its centre stands a statue of William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616, English Writer), arguably the most famous contributor to Theatre in English history.

Linking Leicester Square with the nearby Piccadilly Circus is Coventry Street, which leaves Leicester Square heading West, past the “Swiss Canton Tree” shown above, erected in 1991. It celebrates the 700th anniversary of the creation of the Swiss Federation, formed of 26 individual Cantons, the coat of arms of which are featured on the memorial. It also celebrates a historic friendship between the British and the Swiss, as stated on the board attached to the monument.

If you follow Coventry Street far enough, you will end up back in Piccadilly Circus, where another major Westminster road called simply “Piccadilly” which runs close to Vine Street has its Eastern Terminus.

There are various famous buildings in Piccadilly Circus, including the Statue of Eros atop the Shaftesbury Memorial, shown above. Erected in the 1890’s, it paid homage to Lord Shaftesbury (1801 – 1885, English Politician), and stands directly above Piccadilly Circus tube station. Lord Shaftesbury was known for his charitable contribution, hence the presence of Eros, the Angel of Christian Charity.

Regent Street, Oxford Street & Bond Street

Staying in Westminster, the next set of places cover the 3 green squares on the board, starting with Regent Street. It was from this street that we spotted Marlborough Street and its fine mock Tudor style buildings, as we walked past towards Hamleys, the oldest Toy Shop in the World, originally founded here in London in 1760. It now has numerous branches around the country, and we have seen its stores in Manchester and Glasgow.

In the North, Regent Street starts at Oxford Street near Oxford Circus Tube Station, and in the South it terminates in Piccadilly Circus after it has passed Hamleys.

The aforementioned Oxford Street is perhaps the more famous of the 2, thanks to its status as the busiest shopping street in the whole of Europe. Around 300 shops cater for millions of shoppers every year, including the notable Selfridges Store, shown above. Selfridges was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge (1858 – 1947, British Retailer) in 1909 as a large department store in London, and is currently the 2nd largest shop in the entire UK after only Harrods (also in London), with branches across the country. In Birmingham the Selfridges store is an iconic landmark thanks to its modern exterior covered in large roundels, which you can see in my Birmingham post here.

Oxford Street begins at Marble Arch, running for 1.5 miles through the junction with Regent Street to its Terminus, at New Oxford Street, which in turn merges with High Holborn.

Bond Street is the final green square, and although we did walk past it, it didn’t occur to me at the time to take a picture. It runs between Oxford Street in the North, down towards Piccadilly in the South, coming out close to Green Park tube station, just across the road from the Ritz Hotel.

Bond Street is notable as being the most expensive street in Europe to own retail, and indeed on the Monopoly Board the Green squares are the 2nd most expensive properties to own, after only our final set of streets, shown below.

Park Lane & Mayfair

Meeting up with Marble Arch on the edge of Hyde Park is Park Lane, which forms the Eastern boundary of the park itself. The Southern part of the road is home to the “Dorchester Hotel”, which opened for business in 1931, and remains 1 of London’s most expensive hotels.

To the North as you approach Marble Arch you will see the “Animals in War Memorial”, which pays tribute to all of the animals who helped the British Armed Forces in conflicts throughout history. Designed by David Backhouse in the early 2000’s, it was completed in 2004, and features large bronze statues of a Mule, a Horse and a Dog.

Our final square is Mayfair, which refers to an area of London which is 1 of the most expensive areas as a whole in the capital. It is home to many 5 Star hotels, as well as numerous Embassies, with the most famous being the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square.

Most of Grosvenor Square has lovely Georgian Architecture, aside from the Embassy itself as it happens, which is a more modern, plain affair. In the centre of the square stands a statue of former US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 – 1945) who helped the allies during WWII prior to American involvement, and then helped defeat Nazi Germany. Statues of former Presidents, Ronald Reagan (1911 –  2004) and Dwight David Eisenhower (1890 – 1969) can also be found outside the Embassy, along with all 50 state flags. The Embassy does have plans to move, however the new building isn’t expected to be complete until 2017.

The name for the overall area “Mayfair” comes from “May Fair”, a real fair that was held over 2 weeks between 1668 – 1764. Mayfair also covers the area around the Dorchester, and runs as far as boundaries at Oxford Street, Regent Street and Piccadilly. The Monopoly Board reflects it being an expensive area, as it is the single most expensive property you can buy on the board.

Kings Cross, Marylebone, Fenchurch Street & Liverpool Street Stations

Aside from the normal coloured squares, you can also buy 4 train stations in Monopoly, which for the London edition use real life stations located around the city. The 1st after you pass go is London Kings Cross, shown above, located in Camden. The station is located on Euston Road next to St Pancras International, and originally opened in 1852 as part of the Great Northern Railway between London & York. This was later extended and incorporated into the East Coast Main Line from London all the way to Edinburgh, and it remains the Southern terminus of 1 of the UK’s busiest routes.

The station is also heavily featured in the Harry Potter Novels/Films, as it is the location where witches and wizards heading for Hogwarts come to board their train. By running at a column between Platforms 9 and 10 they gain access to Platform 9 3/4, and a trolley half sticking out of the wall has been set up in the station for tourists to get their pictures with.

The 2nd station is Marylebone, in Westminster, which we unfortunately missed although it turns out we did come with 0.3 miles of it when we visited nearby Baker Street, home to the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.

Marylebone opened in 1899, as part of the original Great Central Main Line towards Sheffield/Manchester. This ran broadly the same route as the Midland Main Line, and was eventually closed as part of the Beeching Cuts. Marylebone is now used as the Southern terminus of the Chiltern Main Line up towards Birmingham via Oxfordshire/Warwickshire.

We also missed Fenchurch Street Station, although interestingly we were again only 0.3 miles away from it when we visited the Tower of London, and 0.2 miles when we made it to All Hallows Church nearby.

The Station opened in 1841, becoming the very 1st railway station within the City of London (later joined by Cannon Street, and Liverpool Street) as part of the London & Blackwall Railway. This ran services between Fenchurch and Blackwall which was part of the London Docklands. A new station building was completed in 1854 to designs by George Berkley (Died 1893, English Engineer) and soon played host to other services around London. The London & Blackwall route would close in 1926, however today it remains an important London station, with services run by C2C into the neighbouring county of Essex.

The final station is London Liverpool Street, also located within the City of London. It was this station that we used on our 2nd day in London to get towards Chelmsford/Colchester in Essex, and as we pulled out I took the photo shown above, looking back at the City. You can see the financial district of the City of London, including such buildings as the Gherkin, as well as the newly completed Shard in Southwark on the far side of the river.

Liverpool Street opened in 1874, becoming at least the 3rd station in the City of London, after Cannon Street in 1866. Services from the station mainly run along England’s East Coast, towards Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, as well as Stansted & Southend Airports.

Our London adventure is finally at an end, so if you ever get to visit the Capital, see how many of the famous Monopoly squares you can find, it’s a great way to see the city!


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