Aldwych

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Aldwych Template:IPAc-en is a place and road in the City of Westminster in London, England. It is situated Template:Convert north-east of Charing Cross.

Description

Aldwych, the road, is a crescent, connected to the Strand at both ends. At its centre, it meets the Kingsway. Buildings along its length are:

  • Waldorf Hilton hotel
  • India House (Indian High Commission in London)
  • Australia House (High Commission of Australia in London)
  • Aldwych Theatre
  • Novello Theatre
  • Bush House, former headquarters of BBC's World Service
  • Centrium, formerly Television House
  • Connaught House, Columbia House, Aldwych House, and Clement House, buildings of the London School of Economics.
  • The former site of the Gaiety Theatre, London, under reconstruction

Nearby, in the Strand, is the now-disused Aldwych tube station.

Its official name is "Aldwych" but the road is sometimes colloquially referred to as "The Aldwych", rather in the same manner that "Strand" is often referred to as "The Strand".

History

The name, "Aldwych", derives from the Old English eald and wic meaning 'old trading town' or 'old marketplace'; the name was later applied to the street and district. It was recorded as Aldewich in 1211. In the seventh century, an Anglo-Saxon village and trading centre named Lundenwic ("London trading town") was established approximately one mile to the west of Londinium (named Lundenburh or "London Fort" by the Saxons) in what is now Aldwych. Lundenwic probably used the mouth of the River Fleet as a harbour or anchorage for trading ships and fishing boats. thumb on Aldwych]] Lundenwic was 'rediscovered' in the 1980s after the results of extensive excavations were reinterpreted as being urban in character. These conclusions were reached independently by the archaeologists, Alan Vince and Martin Biddle. Recent excavations in the Covent Garden area have uncovered an extensive Anglo-Saxon settlement, covering about Template:Convert, stretching from the present-day National Gallery site in the west to Aldwych in the east. As the presumed locus of the city, Lundenburh, was moved back within the old Roman walls, the older settlement of Lundenwic gained the name of ealdwic: "old settlement", a name which evolved into Aldwych.

The modern street was created in a redevelopment in the early twentieth century, that saw the demolition of the old Wych Street and the construction of Australia House (built 1913-18) and Bush House (completed in 1925).

A statue of the nineteenth-century prime minister, William Ewart Gladstone, was installed in 1905 near St. Clement Danes church.

On 18 February 1996, a bomb detonated prematurely on a Number 171 bus travelling along Aldwych, killing Edward O'Brien, the IRA operative transporting the device; it also injured four others.

References

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See also

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  • The former Aldwych tube station (closed 1994)
  • Aldwych tramway station
  • Aldwych Theatre
  • Wych Street

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