High Street, together with Wine Street, Broad Street and Corn Street, is one of the four cross streets which met at the carfax, later the site of the Bristol High Cross, the heart of Bristol, England when it was a walled medieval town. From this crossroads High Street runs downhill south-east to Bristol Bridge, a distance of approximately 155m. . . . High Street, together with Corn Street, Broad Street and Wine Street, formed the earliest nucleus of Bristol. It is shown clearly on Ricart’s Plan, one of the first English town plans, with the High Cross at its top and St Nicholas Church (which then incorporated the town’s southern gate) at its foot. The street appears to have changed little by the time Millerd’s Citty of Bristoll map was published in 1673. . . . Puritan diarist Nehemiah Wallington describes Bristol Bridge and High Street in the 17th century as containing the chief shops of mercers, silkmen and linen drapers. Those who could not get premises on the bridge, which at that time was lined with shops, considered High Street the next best location.
By the mid-19th century shop fronts lined the slope of High Street, and development continued into the 20th century. Thomas Jones, the Pembrokeshire draper whose department store eventually became part of the Debenhams group, acquired three shops on High Street, ten on Wine Street and three on Mary le Port Street. In the 1920s the firm even tried to buy the landmark Dutch House which stood on the corner of High Street and Wine Street; when that bid failed the firm embarked on a modernisation programme which was almost complete by 1940. The majority of buildings on the east side of High Street were destroyed by aerial bombing on 24 November 1940. St Nicholas Church, also damaged by bombing, was subsequently repaired and brought back into use.
27 July 1694: The Bank of England began as a private bank that would act as a banker to the Government. It was primarily founded to fund the war effort against France. The King and Queen of the time, William and Mary, were two of the original stockholders. The original Royal Charter of 1694, granted by King William and Queen Mary, explained that the Bank was founded to “promote the public Good and Benefit of our People”. In essence, this is still used today in our current mission statement: “Promoting the good of the people of the United Kingdom by maintaining monetary and financial stability”. The Bank of England opened for business on 1 August 1694 in temporary accommodation in the Mercers’ Hall in Cheapside. It had a staff of just 17 clerks and two gatekeepers.
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In 1734, the Bank of England moved to the site on Threadneedle Street where it still stands today. Slowly, over the next 100 years or so, the Bank bought adjacent properties until it owned the entire 3.5-acre site in the heart of the City of London. Our first architect George Sampson created the first purpose-built bank in the UK on the site. It was said to be Palladian in style, identified by its symmetry and classic design. Payment by the Bank to contractors for the balance of the new building in 1734 was £268, 17 shillings, and two pence.
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Between 1925 and 1939, Bank of England architect Sir Herbert Baker demolished what had become known as ‘the old Bank’ or ‘Soane’s Bank’. The old Bank, designed by architect Sir John Soane, was regarded as one of London’s architectural gems. Sir Herbert built a new headquarters for the Bank of England on the same 3.5-acre Threadneedle Street site. The old Bank of England had mostly been no more than three storeys high. The new building stood seven storeys above ground, and dropped three below to fit in the extra staff needed to tackle the Bank’s rapidly increasing amount of work and responsibility.
Bank of England
Following images are from “Monumental classic architecture in Great Britain and Ireland during the eighteenth & nineteenth centuries”, Albert Edward Richardson, 1914, between pages 38 & 39, and 42 & 43.
Originally known as the General Letter Office, the headquarters for the General Post Office (GPO) was built on the eastern side of St. Martin’s Le Grand in the City of London between 1825 and 1829, to designs by Robert Smirke. . . . It was built in the Grecian style with Ionic porticoes, and was 400 feet (120 m) long and 80 feet (24 m) deep. The building’s main facade had a central hexastyle Greek Ionic portico with pediment, and two tetrastyle porticoes without pediments at each end. The main interior was the large letter-carriers’ room, with its elegant iron gallery and spiral staircase.
While externally attractive, however, the building suffered from internal shortcomings. Poor layout meant that work requiring bright light was conducted in poorly illuminated areas; odours spread from the lavatories to the kitchens, while the combination of gas lighting and poor ventilation meant that workers often felt nauseous. The expansion of the work of the Post Office also meant that by the later 19th century it was occupied well beyond its intended capacity; The Times reported in 1860 that “rooms have been overcrowded, closets turned into offices, extra rooms hung by tie rods to the girders of the ceiling”. . . The original Smirke building was closed in 1910 and demolished in 1912.
The story goes back to the era before Rowland Hill’s Penny Post and had its opening chapter during the glory days of the mail coach. The Post Office had been established in the City since the mid-17th century but it was in 1829 that the Post Office moved from cramped premises in Lombard St to a new home in an imposing neoclassical building nearer St Paul’s. Situated on the east side of St Martin’s-Le-Grand it was Grand by address, grand in design and become known fondly as ‘The Grand’ by its occupants. The new building housed the Postmaster General, The Secretary and his administrative staff together with the main sorting offices for mail for London, the provinces and overseas. The building, designed by Robert Smirke, was the best known public face of the Post Office in London throughout the Victorian period. After much internal alteration to cope with the enormous growth in business, it was eventually – and controversially – demolished in 1912-13.
The Postal Museum
Chester Rows are a set of structures in each of the four main streets of Chester, in the United Kingdom, consisting of a series of covered walkways on the first floor behind which are entrances to shops and other premises. At street level is another set of shops and other premises, many of which are entered by going down a few steps. Dating from the medieval era, the Rows may have been built on top of rubble remaining from the ruins of Roman buildings, but their origin is still subject to speculation.
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There are shops on the street level with wide steps leading to the first floor where there on more shops on the Rows. Above this are 2+ storeys in black-and-white architecture. At street level the shops and other premises are similar to those found in other towns and cities, although many of the premises are entered by going down a few steps. On the first floor level are more shops and other premises, set back from the street, in front of which is a continuous walkway. The storey above this overlaps the walkway, which makes it a covered walkway, and this constitutes what is known as the “Row”. On the street side of the walkways are railings and an area which was used as shelves or stalls for the display of goods. The floors above the level of the Rows are used for commercial or domestic purposes, or for storage.
The layout of the Rows goes back to the 13th century. There were shops or warehouses at street level, with a long gallery above, reached by steps from the street level. Living quarters are on the gallery level. In the Middle Ages, this would have been a hall, open to the roof and heated by a central hearth. The private rooms, or solar, were above the gallery. In the Tudor and Jacobean period the upper floors were built out over the gallery, supported on long poles down to the street level. Shops at ground level used the space between the posts to display their goods to passers-by.
To trace the original cause of these rows, with any degree of certainty, is no easy task, concerning which a variety of conjectures have been formed. Some have attributed their origin to the period when Chester was liable to the frequent assaults of the Welsh, which induced the inhabitants to build their houses in this form, so that when the enemy should at any time have forced an entrance, they might avoid the danger of the horsemen, and annoy their assailants as they passed through the streets. This opinion seems to be adopted by Webb, and followed by most other writers on the subject. He says, “And because their conflicts with enemies continued long time, it was needful for them to leave a space before the doors of those their upper buildings, upon which they might stand in safety from the violence of their enemies’ horses, and withall defend their houses from spoyl, and stand with advantage to encounter their enemies, when they made incursions”. I am aware that this has long been, and still is the popular sentiment; but I think there is very good reason to question its correctness.
Chester: a Virtual Stroll Around the Walls
Argyle Street, Glasgow.
Publisher: W. Ritchie & Sons (“Reliable series”), 1902-28
Originally known as Westergait, Argyle Street led west from Trongate to the city’s West Port, the western gate out of the city’s walls. It was renamed in honour of the Duke of Argyll, some time after the removal of the West Port in 1751, as a result of the expansion of the city westward. The old West Port Well stood at the beginning of the street. On both sides of the street stood courts where businesses operated: Sysdney Court, Morrison’s Court, Moodies’s Court, Wellington Court, Wilson’s Court, Buchanan Court, Turner’s Court and Pratt’s Court.
Major reconstruction of the area at the turn of the 1970s which saw the construction of the Glasgow Inner Ring Road, the demolition of Anderston Cross and its replacement with the Anderston Centre complex changed the line of Argyle Street, the eastern half now terminating underneath the Kingston Bridge approach viaduct whilst the main vehicle route over the motorway runs along St. Vincent Street, leaving a 250-metre stretch of the western half of road in Anderston isolated as a cul de sac.
Balmoral Hotel & Waverley Market on right
Princes Street is one of the major thoroughfares in central Edinburgh, Scotland and the main shopping street in the capital. It is the southernmost street of Edinburgh’s New Town, stretching around 1.2 km (three quarters of a mile) from Lothian Road in the west, to Leith Street in the east. The street has few buildings on the south side and looks over Princes Street Gardens allowing panoramic views of the Old Town, Edinburgh Castle, as well as the valley between. Most of the street is limited to trams, buses and taxis with only the east end open to all traffic.
Princes St. looking West, Edinburgh
Publisher: Raphael Tuck & Sons
PRINCES STREET is the finest street in Edinburgh. Practically a mile long, on one side it is lined with splendid shops and magnificent hotels, clubs and public offices, while on the other is a series of beautifully laid-out gardens decorated with statues and monuments, including the graceful Scott Monument (200 feet high) erected after designs by Kemp in 1840-44
Milsom Street in Bath, Somerset, England was built in 1762 by Thomas Lightholder. The buildings were originally grand town houses, but most are now used as shops, offices and banks. Most have three storeys with mansard roofs and Corinthian columns.
Milsom Street was the fashionable shopping street in Bath: “Do you know I saw the prettiest hat you can imagine in a shop window in Milsom Street just now,” enthuses a friend of Catherine Morland, Jane Austen’s heroine in ‘Northanger Abbey’. It was also a fortuitous street for chance meetings: “in walking up Milsom Street, she had the good fortune to meet with the Admiral. He was standing by himself at a printshop window, with his hands behind him, in earnest contemplation of some print…”
British Library Online Gallery
The road has always been central to the City’s layout. Six feet below its pavement lies the Roman Via Praetoria, which connected the Basilica at the centre of the fortress to the bridge over the River Ouse and the civilian settlement on the other side. The Roman road may have given the street its name, although Francis Drake records in 1736: “It had this name given as is said from the vast quantity of stone lead through this street for the building of the cathedral.” Limestone for the construction of the Minster was indeed brought in from Tadcaster by river. Drake also records that, at the bottom of the street, was a spot called ‘cuckolds’ corner’ although he doesn’t explain why.
History of York
Stonegate has always been one of the major streets of York. It runs south-west from the junction with High and Low Petergate or via principalis, towards the River Ouse and the old Roman bridge, along the line of the via praetoria of the Roman fortress. The via praetoria linked the main fortress gate – under St Helen’s Square – to the headquarters building – under the Minster.
York Civic Trust