Oxford Street

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For the Oxford Street in Sydney, see Oxford Street, Sydney.
Image:Oxfordstreet and centrepoint.jpg
Oxford Street, with Centrepoint in the background
Image:Oxford Street, looking west from Duke Street. Site of Selfridges on the right.jpg
Oxford Street in 1875, looking west from the junction with Duke Street. The buildings on the right are on the future site of Selfridges
Oxford Street, at a busy junction

Oxford Street is a major thoroughfare in London, England in the City of Westminster, and is one of the world's most famous streets for shopping. With over 300 shops, it is the world's largest shopping street. [1]

It runs for approximately a mile and a half from Marble Arch at the north east corner of Hyde Park, through Oxford Circus to St Giles' Circus, at the intersection with Charing Cross Road and Tottenham Court Road. Eastwards, the road then becomes New Oxford Street until it runs into High Holborn. West of Marble Arch, Oxford Street becomes Bayswater Road or the A40 which continues west towards Oxford. Oxford Street intersects with other famous London roads including Park Lane, New Bond Street and Regent Street.


[edit] History

The street follows the route of a Roman road which linked Hampshire with Colchester and became one of the major routes in and out of the city.

Between the 12th century and 1782 it was variably known as Tyburn Road (after the River Tyburn that ran just to the south of it, and now flows underneath it), Uxbridge Road, Worcester Road and Oxford Road [2]. It became notorious as the route taken by prisoners on their final journey from Newgate Prison to the gallows at Tyburn near Marble Arch.

In the late 18th century, many of the surrounding fields were purchased by the Earl of Oxford, and the area was developed. It soon became popular with entertainers including tiger-baiters and masquerades. During the 19th century, the area became known for its shops and this has continued.

Oxford Street is a square on the British Monopoly board. It is part of the green set together with Regent Street and Bond Street.

[edit] Oxford Street Today

Oxford Street is considered one of the world's best known shopping streets, home to major department stores and hundreds of smaller shops of which are predominately occupied by multiple retailers. It is the major shopping street in central London, though not the most expensive or fashionable. It is part of a larger shopping district with Regent Street, Bond Street and many smaller nearby streets. The other principal shopping area in central London is Knightsbridge, famous for Harrods department store.

For many British chain stores, their Oxford Street branch is regarded as their 'flagship' store and used for celebrity launches and promotions.

  • Selfridges, a luxury department store that has been on this site for more than a century.
  • Marks and Spencer, the 170,000 square feet flagship Marble Arch store on the junction of Oxford Street and Orchard Street.
  • HMV, although it moved from its original location in 2000 after 80 years. HMV has three stores on the street including a concession within Selfridges and its flagship at 150 Oxford Street, which is Europe's largest music shop at 50,000 square feet.
  • Borders, a large bookshop.
  • Other department stores including; John Lewis, Debenhams (historically Debenham & Freebody and Marshall & Snelgrove prior to combining following a rebuild in the 1960s when it became Debenhams) and House of Fraser (historically known as DH Evans prior to rebranding as House of Fraser in 2000).
  • Virgin Megastore, at the intersection of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road, a very large entertainment retailer.
  • The Disney Store flagship location.
  • Centred around Oxford Circus are major fashion shops including Topshop London, which bills itself as "the world's biggest fashion store" (being the biggest single shop, not including department stores).
  • From 2007 Oxford Street will also have the flagship Primark in the building that formerly housed C&A and latterly Allders.
  • Adidas, A world leading sports brand has a store on Oxford Street opposite Selfridges. Adidas are the manufacturers of the football kit of the the London-based Football team Chelsea FC, current champions of the English national Premiership league.
  • There are also a number of stores on Oxford Street which operate on short term leases in empty retail units and advertise themselves as Closing Down Sales. However in some cases these Closing Down Sales can operate on rather a long term or even permanent presence. [3]

Oxford Street can often get congested both on the footpath and on the road due to the number of buses which use the street and the high number of shoppers and tourists on the street. Common sights on Oxford Street include people promoting by holding onto signs for various things most prominently for Golf Sale, preachers (such as Philip Howard who was at Oxford Circus), political demonstrations (such as the 2001 May Day protests and common small scale protests with regards to various issues) and Hare Krishnas can be commonly seen along this road.

[edit] Christmas lights

Each Christmas the street is decorated with an array of festive lights. The heavily publicized 'turning-on' ceremony is in mid-to-late November, when a celebrity flicks the switch to illuminate the decorations. The lights remain until January 6.

The annual addition of the lights began in 1959, five years after its neighbour Regent Street had begun the tradition. In 1967, as the recession hit London, the lights were stopped and only returned in 1978 when Oxford Street organised a laser display.

[edit] Celebrities who turned on the Christmas lights

[edit] Tube stations

Tube stations along Oxford Street starting at Marble Arch (western-most):

See also: List of upscale shopping districts

[edit] References

  • "London through a lens No 41 — Groovy Christmas Lights, 1967" Time Out London, November 23, 2005.

[edit] External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

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Oxford Street

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