#StationStories - the Oxford Street edition

We have now reached Oxford Circus Tube station. This station is extremely busy so please take care when getting off the train.

Oxford Circus Tube station
Image provided by the London Transport Museum www.ltmuseum.co.uk 


Lines: Bakerloo, Central, Victoria 

Bio: The Bakerloo, Central and Victoria line Tubes have been in use at Oxford Circus since 1969. The Tube station is at the junction of Regent Street and Oxford Street, the perfect location for all you shoppers out there, especially as it has entrances on all four corners of the intersection. It’s the busiest station in the UK though, with 98.51 million entries and exits in 2014 – better make sure you’ve got your Oyster card ready so you’re not holding up the queue!

Oxford Street is the home of London’s fashion scene and Europe’s busiest shopping street, attracting over 100 million visitors each year, who together spend £4.9 billion every year.  It’s no wonder the street is so popular for shopping as there are one and a half miles of shops, including over 200 British fashion brands, as well as flagship stores for high-street brands such as Topshop, Zara, Gap and even the largest branch of Marks & Spencer’s in Britain. It’s not just about clothing though, as HMV operate the largest music store in Europe at 150 Oxford Street. Rock on! 

A little known fact is Oxford Street was originally known as Tyburn Road, named after the stream that ran alongside it. These days, the stream flows through underground conduits. Apparently the only place in the city it can still be seen running freely is inside the basement of Grays Antique Centre on the junction of Oxford Street and Davies Street…rumoured to be complete with resident goldfish!

Oxford Circus Tube station
Image provided by the London Transport Museum www.ltmuseum.co.uk

Prior to becoming the centre of London’s fashion and retail industry, the road was infamous as the final leg for condemned prisoners travelling from Newgate Prison to the gallows at Tyburn, which were driven down the street and hung from the Tyburn tree at Marble Arch. Next time you’re in the area, check out the small round stone in the road, marking the original location of the hanging tree. 

Today, Oxford Street is famous for its Christmas light display, a tradition that started in 1959, Lights have been switched on by celebrities including Jim Carrey, Charlotte Church, the Spice Girls, the Sugababes, the cast of Coronation Street and even Richard Branson. This year’s Christmas switch-on is planned for Sunday November 15th 2015. Celebs are still to be confirmed so keep a look out!

Did you know?

  • Topshop started off as “Peter Robinson’s Topshop”, a department store chain with a branch at Oxford Circus, which was destroyed in the blitz and then re-launched under the name Topshop in 1964. 
  • Oxford Street has only one remaining pub – the Grade II listed Tottenham at number 6 Oxford Street. The building was constructed in the 19th century and was originally known as The Flying Horse. 
  • People working in Oxford Street in the ‘80s claimed there was a secret underground street, complete with cobble stones and abandoned Victorian shops. This secret street can allegedly be accessed via the cellars and basements underneath Selfridges and the shop where Forever 21 now stands.
  • The original branch of HMV on Oxford Street played a very important role in the discovery of The Beatles, when the band’s manager Brian Epstein visited the store to discuss turning the band’s demo tapes into discs. The disc cutter was so impressed he called a music publisher from the top floor of the building, who in turn called George Martin of Parlophone Records. The band was given a contract and recorded their first album within a few months.

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#StationStories – a celebration of the iconic London underground and its surrounds

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