Adelphi, London

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The Adam Brothers' Adelphi (1768–72) was London's first neoclassical building. Eleven large houses fronted a vaulted terrace, with wharves beneath.
11 Adelphi Terrace
Current view of the remaining building at 11 Adelphi Terrace, the furthest left house of the original buildings when viewed from the river

Adelphi /əˈdɛlfi/ (from the Greek adelphoi, meaning "brothers") is a district of the City of Westminster in London.[1] The small district includes the streets of Adelphi Terrace, Robert Street and John Adam Street.[1]

Adelphi Buildings

A prospect of London by Alexander Nasmyth, 1826. The Adelphi buildings can be seen to the left of Waterloo Bridge.
The art deco Adelphi building from the 1930s, located at 1-10 John Adam Street

The district is named after the Adelphi Buildings, a block of 24 unified neoclassical terrace houses occupying the land between The Strand and the River Thames in the parish of St Martin in the Fields, which also included a headquarters building for the "Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce" (now generally known as the Royal Society of Arts). They were built between 1768–72, by the Adam brothers (John, Robert, James and William Adam), to whom the buildings' Greek-derived name refers. The ruins of Durham House on the site were demolished for their construction. The nearby Adelphi Theatre is named after the Adelphi Buildings. Robert Adam was influenced by his extensive visit to Diocletian's Palace in Dalmatia, and applied some of this influence to the design of the neoclassical Adelphi Buildings.[2][3] Many of the Adelphi Buildings were demolished in the early 1930s and replaced with the New Adelphi, a monumental Art Deco building designed by the firm of Collcutt & Hamp; buildings remaining from the old Adelphi include 11 Adelphi Terrace (formerly occupied by numismatic specialists A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd) and the Royal Society of Arts (which has expanded to incorporate two of the former houses). Benjamin Pollock's Toy Shop was located here in the 1940s.

London School of Economics (LSE)

The famous London School of Economics (LSE) was initially located in Adelphi, London before it decamped and moved to its current Clare Market address. At the LSE's new Clare Market location, King George V set the foundation stone of the Old Building, near the centre of the campus. During WWII, the LSE moved once again to Cambridge University until 1945 to avoid the bombing campaigns. While at Adelphi location, the LSE was located in Number 10 Adelphi Terrace and its scholars and students were active in the surrounding neighbourhood and community.

Street name etymologies

Adelphi has no formally defined boundaries, though they are generally agreed to be: Strand to the north, Lancaster Place to the east, Victoria Embankment to the south and Charing Cross station to the west. The small set of streets east of Northumberland Avenue are included here for convenience.

  • Adam Street – after John and Robert Adam, who built the Adelphi development in the 1760s[4][5]
  • Adelphi Terrace – the area was developed by the brothers John and Robert Adam, in the 1760s, and was named after adelphos, the Greek for ‘brother’[6][7]
  • The Arches – presumably descriptive, after the railway arches here
  • Buckingham Arcade and Buckingham Street – after George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, 17th century courtier, who acquired York House which formerly stood on this site; his son sold the area to developers on condition that his father and titles were commemorated on the new streets[8][9]
  • Carting Lane – thought to be from the carts that brought good to and from the wharf formerly located here; until the 1830s it was called Dirty Lane[10]
  • Charing Cross – after the Eleanor cross at Charing, from the Old English word "cierring", referring to a bend in the River Thames[11][12]
  • Corner House Street – unknown
  • Craven Passage and Craven Street – after William Craven, 3rd Baron Craven, who owned the land when the street was built in the 1730s[13][14]
  • Durham House Street – this was the former site of a palace belonging to the bishops of Durham in Medieval times[15][16]
  • Embankment Place – after the Thames Embankment, built in the Victorian era[17]
  • George Court – after George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, 17th century courtier, who acquired York House which formerly stood on this site; his son sold the area to developers on condition that his father and titles were commemorated on the new streets[8][18]
  • Hungerford Lane – after the Hungerford family, who owned a house on this site in the 15th century, later sold due to debts to create Hungerford Market, before the building of Charing Cross station[19][20][21]
  • Ivybridge Lane – named after a former ivy-covered bridge that crossed an old watercourse on this spot; the bridge was demolished sometime before 1600[22][23]
  • John Adam Street – after John Adam, who built the Adelphi development with his brother Robert in the 1760s[24][25]
  • Lancaster Place – former site of the Savoy Palace. It passed into the ownership of the earls of Lancaster in the 13th century, the most famous of which was John of Gaunt, who owned the palace at the times of its destruction in Peasant’s Revolt of 1381[26][27]
  • Northumberland Avenue and Northumberland Street – site of the former Northumberland House, built originally in the early 17th century for the earls of Northampton and later acquired by the earls of Northumberland[28][29]
  • Robert Street and Lower Robert Street – after Robert Adam, who built the Adelphi development with his brother John in the 1760s[30]
  • Savoy Buildings, Savoy Court, Savoy Hill, Savoy Place, Savoy Row, Savoy Steps, Savoy Street and Savoy Way – the former site of the Savoy Palace, built for Peter II, Count of Savoy in 1245[31][32]
  • Strand and Strand Lane – from Old English ‘stond’, meaning the edge of a river; the river Thames formerly reached here prior to the building of the Thames Embankment[33][34]
  • Victoria Embankment – after Queen Victoria, reigning queen at the time of the building of the Thames Embankment[35][36]
  • Villiers Street – after George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, 17th century courtier, who acquired York House which formerly stood on this site; his son sold the area to developers on condition that his father and titles were commemorated on the new streets[37][38]
  • Watergate Walk – after a former watergate built in 1626 for George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham as an entrance for the former York House[39][40]
  • York Buildings and York Place – a house was built on this site in the 14th century for the bishops of Norwich – in the reign of Queen Mary it was acquired by the archbishops of York and named ‘York House’; York Place was formerly ‘Of Alley’, after George Villiers (see Buckingham Street above)[41][42]

Notable residents

In media

The Adelphi building was used for some scenes in ITV's Agatha Christie's Poirot episode "The Theft of the Royal Ruby".[44]

References

  1. ^ a b Mills, A., Oxford Dictionary of London Place Names, (2001)
  2. ^ Peter De Bolla, The Education of the Eye: Painting, Landscape, and Architecture, 2003, Stanford University Press. 296 pages ISBN 0-8047-4800-4
  3. ^ C. Michael Hogan, "Diocletian's Palace", The Megalithic Portal, Andy Burnham ed, Oct. 6, 2007
  4. ^ Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p2
  5. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p16
  6. ^ Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p3
  7. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p16
  8. ^ a b Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p47
  9. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p62-3
  10. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p74
  11. ^ Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p65
  12. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p81
  13. ^ Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p85
  14. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p102
  15. ^ Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p105
  16. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p118
  17. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p123
  18. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p62-3
  19. ^ Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p167
  20. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p74
  21. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p179-80
  22. ^ Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p170
  23. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p184
  24. ^ Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p172
  25. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p16
  26. ^ Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p186
  27. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p194
  28. ^ Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p229
  29. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p236
  30. ^ Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p267
  31. ^ Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p288
  32. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p295-6
  33. ^ Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p306
  34. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p312
  35. ^ Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p328
  36. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p332
  37. ^ Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p329
  38. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p62-3
  39. ^ Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p334
  40. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p337-8
  41. ^ Fairfield, S. The Streets of London – A dictionary of the names and their origins, p349
  42. ^ Bebbington, G. (1972) London Street Names, p62-3
  43. ^ 'The Strand, southern tributaries – continued', Old and New London: Volume 3 (1878), pp. 100–110 accessed: 30 May 2008
  44. ^ Eirik (2013-07-04). "Investigating Agatha Christie's Poirot: Episode-by-episode: The Theft of the Royal Ruby". Investigatingpoirot.blogspot.ch. Retrieved 2016-02-16. 

Further reading

  • Brereton, Austin. The literary history of the Adelphi and its neighbourhood (New York: Duffield, 1909). Illustrated.

See also

Coordinates: 51°30′33″N 0°07′21″W / 51.50917°N 0.12250°W / 51.50917; -0.12250

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