Learn more about Charing Cross
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|OS grid reference:||TQ302804|
|County level:||Greater London|
|Sovereign state:||United Kingdom|
|Ceremonial county:||Greater London|
|Historic county:||Middlesex (1889)|
|Police force:||Metropolitan Police|
|Fire brigade:||London Fire Brigade|
|Ambulance service:||London Ambulance|
|Post office and telephone|
|UK Parliament:||Cities of London and Westminster|
|London Assembly:||West Central|
|London | List of places in London|
The name Charing Cross, now given to a mainline railway station and the surrounding district of central London, comes from the original hamlet of Charing, where King Edward I placed a cross in memorial to his wife, Eleanor of Castile. It is officially  recognised as the exact centre of London; distances to London are measured to the location of the original Eleanor cross built at Charing.
Charing Cross was the last of 12 locations where Eleanor's coffin rested overnight during the funeral procession from Lincolnshire to her final resting-place at Westminster, half a mile away. At each of these, Edward erected an Eleanor cross, of which only three now remain. The one which stands in front of Charing Cross railway station is a re-located Victorian copy (designed by architect Edward Middleton Barry) of the original, which was not nearly as large or ornate as the Victorian version.
The cross's original location was at the village of Charing, at the top of Whitehall, at the south of Trafalgar Square. The site is now occupied by the statue of King Charles I mounted on a horse. A plaque there reads:
- "On the site now occupied by the statue of King Charles was erected the original Queen Eleanor's Cross a replica of which stands in front of Charing Cross Station. Mileages from London are measured from the site of the original cross."
Although it has been thought that the name Charing derived from Fr. chere reine (= "dear Queen"), it is more likely to stem from the Old English cearring, meaning a bend in the river. (At the site of the village of Charing, coming from Westminster, the Thames makes a dramatic 90-degree turn to the east)
In 1839 the Metropolitan Police District was extended to cover every parish within 15 miles of Charing Cross.
London's taxi drivers, in their traditional black cabs, have to learn most of the streets within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross when acquiring "The Knowledge".
Samuel Johnson is quoted as saying "I think the full tide of human existence is at Charing-Cross." Source: Life of Johnson (J. Boswell), Vol. II. In Aldous Huxley's novel, Brave New World, the Charing Cross is renamed to Charing T, after the Ford Model T.
 Nearest places
 Nearest tube stations
- Charing Cross tube station
- Embankment tube station
- Leicester Square tube station
- Waterloo station
- Westminster tube station
 Nearest railway stations