Friday, December 08, 2006

Oxford Street and Fruit Stall

Fruit Stall on junction of Oxford Street and New Bond Street, London

This photo of the view of Oxford Street in London is part of one of the panoramic images found on the Tour of London. There are over 100 images taken from around London linked to an interactive map.

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Oxford Street has to be one of the most famous shopping areas in London. Sadly it is dominated by one high street store after another with little to differentiate it from other high streets except size. With some 300 shops lining nearly 2 miles from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch.

Oxford Circus is about half way along, forming an extremely busy junction with Oxford Street and Upper / Lower Regent Street. Near here you will find a few stores that have existed for more than a couple of years, including John Lewis, which has been on site since 1895, though the current building dates from 1960, the previous one being a victim of bombing in WWII. John Lewis store is unusual in that the principle beneficiaries of the generated profits are the workers, who are considered Partners.

Just behind John Lewis is Cavendish Square, a good place to relax if it is sunny. Further along Oxford Street you will find Selfridges, another world famous store, which opened in 1909. The highly profitable placement of the perfume section on the ground floor has been much copied by department stores around the world. It is hard to imagine that much of the rest of Oxford Street will remain in place for quite so long. The southern end of Baker Street joins Oxford Street next to Selfridges, linking the area to The Regents Park and Baker Street Tube.

The fruit stall you see in this picture is found at the junction of Oxford Street and New Bond Street (where you will find very expensive tailors, jewelers and the like). These little stores are a common site in London, providing fresh fruit at often lower prices than the supermarkets. Just north off Oxford Street from this point is the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square.

Oxford Street has existed since Roman times, linking London to Oxford. It used to be known as Tyburn Street after the River Tyburn which now runs underneath it. In the 18C it was notorious as the final route for prisoners on their way to the gallows at Tyburn (husbands been taken shopping along Oxford Street may feel the same way today!). The surrounding fileds were brought by the Earl of Oxford in 18C and developed into what has become the current shopping district.

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The tube stations that serve Oxford Street include Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Circus, Bond Street and Marble Arch.

The full panoramic image taken from the junction of New Bond Street and Oxford Street can be found on the London tour by An enlargement of this photo can be found on Flickr. You can also find a marker for New Bond Street on Tagzania.

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