“Random encounters with the unusual” is a repository for the oddities that me and Mrs J have encountered on our travels, which we find interesting or amusing in some way. Have a look, maybe you will find something interesting or amusing herein.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Lost Little Compton Street

If you know where to look in Charing Cross Road you can see evidence of a street that used to intersect Charing Cross Road, but which is now buried out of sight beneath your feet. This “lost” street is Little Compton Street, and it used to provide a connection between Old Compton Street and New Compton Street (the section that would have been between where Greek Street is and where Crown Street used to be). Little Compton Street was depicted in a map of 1799.

To find what remains of Little Compton Street you have to find the traffic island in Charing Cross Road where it intersects with Old Compton Street (as shown in the below Google Maps image). Peering down into the metal grill in the middle of this traffic island reveals some old road signs that show where Little Compton Street once lived.

It is clear that the level of Little Compton Street would have been much lower than the level of the present day road, and presumably in the past the now-a-days basements of the surrounding buildings may have once been at street level.

Google Street View - Looking from Old Compton Street into Charing Cross Road. The metal grill in the traffic island can be seen.
The metal grill.
Peering into the grill - evidence of Little Compton Street.
Peering into the grill - evidence of Little Compton Street.
April 2014 update - I was recently made aware of another blog, which had "borrowed" the above picture for use in their own blog. As they had taken the effort to improve the colour balance in the picture I thought that I would include it here, as it is admittedly an improvement over the original.

Peering into the grill (2) - evidence of Little Compton Street.

Pictures, London (May 2012).

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