|Victoria Street (North)
Route & what to see
Designed to link Buckingham Palace & Belgravia with Whitehall & Westminster Victoria Street was one of the four major streets created in the 19th century. An apt description is 'once lined with second-rate Victorian architecture; now lined with third-rate modern architecture'. The walks avoid Victoria Street itself but instead take in the back streets either to the north or south covering themes of education, housing, healthcare, law & order, industry, transport, religion and leisure. There are places to eat especially pubs along the route. The Methodist Central Hall and Supreme Court have cafes.
The route from Victoria Station
to Westminster is 3 miles. It is all pavement walking.
For details of features in UPPER CASE see additional information page.
Exit the station at the NW
corner and go right along Buckingham Palace Road then right into
Numbers 160-2 are the foyer of a 1928 cinema by George Coles and 152 was a newsreel cinema (1936). Between them are the inter-war premises of TM Sutton Ltd. On the next corners are Allington House, decorated with animals and the Duke of York pub (1821). Opposite is the 'Little Ben' clocktower of 1892 made by Gillett & Johnston of Croydon. The Victoria Palace Theatre was designed by Frank Matcham in 1911.
Cross to Cardinal Place and
walk through towards M&S (The escalators give access to a
grassed seating area and the SW1 Gallery). Bear left to exit into
Bressenden Place by a colourful artwork and go right along this
street. Right at Buckingham Palace Road.
Opposite is the Royal Mews of 1824, housing horses and carriages and the Riding House designed by William Chambers in 1763-6. The pediment (added later) depicts Hercules capturing the Thracian horses. Further along is the Queen's Gallery. On the right is the former Buckingham Palace Hotel of 1860.
Continue along Birdcage Walk
This was the site of an aviary used to keep royal hunting birds. I was built for James I and extended for Charles II. Until 1828 only the king and head falconer were permitted to ride along the thoroughfare. There is a view of Buckingham Palace to the left and then St James's Park. On the right is the Wellington Barracks, home to the five regiments of guards. The main range of building was designed in 1833. The Chapel was largely destroyed by a flying bomb during a Sunday service in 1944 killing 121 people. It was rebuilt in 1963 incorporating the apse of 1877 by GE Street and a cloister of 1954 by HS Goodhart-Rendel.
Go up Cockpit Steps
These mark the site of a former cockpit, demolished in 1816.
Right around QUEEN ANNE'S
Some houses date to 1704. Number 36-8 was built in 1908 for the Anglo-American Oil Company and later used by the National Trust. The former Home Office building is now used by the Ministry of Justice. There is a plaque to Jeremy Bentham who lived in a house on the site.
Right at Petty France
On the right beyond the Ministry of Justice is the rear of the barracks, reconstructed in the 1980s. Opposite are two pubs the Adam & Eve (1881) and Buckingham Arms.
Right at Buckingham Gate
Numbers 13 & 14 are 1756, number 16 1706 and number 20 1889-92 (Reginald Blomfield). At the corner are the premises of the Duchy of Cornwall (1854-7) by Sir James Pennethorne.
Left through to Stafford
Place (unmarked turning opposite the Gallery entrance)
The gaslit mews properties were built in 1860 and numbers 14-20 in 1800. There is a blue plaque to Lord Hore-Belisha at number 16.
Left at Palace Street
This was the site of the STAG BREWERY.
Left along Buckingham Place
Number 1 has a fine doorcase decorated with cherubs. Number 10 was designed by Lutyens senior in 1914.
Right at Catherine Place
Original houses date to 1810-20 but there are rebuilds of 1910-30.
Right along Wilfred Street.
Colonies pub. At the end is the former St Peter & St Edward RC Chapel. This was built as a mission chapel in 1856 at the instigation of Cardinal Manning. The building was heightened in 1857 to accommodate a school. It was closed in 1975 and converted into offices in 1990.
Left into Palace Street
The corner building was the chapel's presbytery, designed by JF Bentley in 1880-3. WESTMINSTER CITY SCHOOL has a statue of Sir Sydney Waterlow in the forecourt.
Return and go right at
Housing was built in 1883 for brewery workers. Further along is an inter-war school building. Opposite is a former institute (1905) and school (1843) of Westminster Chapel.
Right into Buckingham Gate.
The WESTMINSTER CHAPEL replaced WESTMINSTER HOSPITAL. St James's Court stands on the site of the EMMANUEL HOSPITAL (plaque). It was built as serviced flats in 1896-1905 and features colourful tilework and Shakespearean friezes in the courtyard. Number 58 was built in 1886 as offices for the Queen's Westminster Rifles, who had a drill hall behind. On the corner with Caxton Street the BLUECOAT SCHOOL remains and is worth viewing (National Trust premises). At the end is the attractive Albert pub (1862).
Left into Victoria Street
then left through the green space (Christchurch Gardens) further
This marks the site of a church of 1847 which was bombed in WWII. To the left were former ALMSHOUSES. There is a monumental scroll (1970) to the suffragettes, associated with nearby Caxton Hall.
Right at Caxton Street
Caxton Hall was built in 1882 for local parishes and was a noted registry office. The St Ermin's Hotel was built in 1887-9 by ET Hall as serviced flats with livery stables. Across Broadway is New Scotland Yard police HQ (1962-6).
Left at Broadway
The LONDON TRANSPORT HQ BUILDING was designed by Charles Holden in 1929. The ground floor is lined with shops and includes an entrance to St James's Park Station.
Right at Tothill Street then
left along Dartmouth Street
This street was laid out by Nicholas Barbon in the 1680s. Numbers 16-18 were built in 1910. The Fabian Society have premises at number 11. Next door was built in 1896 for the Universities Mission to Central Africa.
Right into OLD QUEEN STREET.
On the corner is the Two Chairmen pub. There are several blue plaques on the elegant houses.
Left into Storey's Gate
On the left is the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Right into Great George
On the right is the Institution of Civil Engineers (1912).
Right at Little George Street and right at Broad Sanctuary.
There is a cafe in the basement of the Methodist Central Hall and toilets under the grass mound in front. The Supreme Court building (the former Middlesex Guildhall) is open to the public on weekdays. Westminster Station (Circle, District & Jubilee lines) is on the far side of Parliament Square. Buses return along Victoria Street to Victoria Station.
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