Queen Victoria Street, EC2V

Place Name

Commissioned in 1861 and taking a decade to build, this flagship street cut a swathe through the teeming mass of alleyways, courtyards and narrow thoroughfares that had developed since the Great Fire of London. The road, provided through the Metropolitan Improvement Act and costing over £1,000,000, streamlined the approach to the City. It was named after the ruling monarch Queen Victoria (May 24, 1819 – January 22, 1901) or Her Majesty Victoria, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India. She was, at the time of her death, the longest serving monarch in British history, a title only surpassed by Elizabeth II. Despite her father Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn being King George III’s fourth son, she ascended to the throne aged 18 after his three elder brothers died, which included her uncle William IV, without any surviving legitimate children. She married her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840. Their children married into royal and noble families across the continent, earning her the sobriquet “the grandmother of Europe”. When Albert died in 1861 she plunged the nation into a period of national mourning and was the embodiment of a strict moral code. Her reign saw a period of vast expansion of the British Empire that spanned across the globe and a period of almost unrivalled innovation at home. In London the city grew at an ever more rapid pace with developers supplying residential properties, many named after the royals – this despite the fact that Victoria’s withdrawal from public life, following the death of her husband, led to a rise in republicanism. Gillian Bebbington in London Street Names writes: “Queen Victoria… has been a productive source of street names. The A to Z Atlas of London lists 31 current Victoria Roads, 7 Victoria Avenues, and dozens of further variations on the name; and these are but a few compared to the number there were before the London County Council drastically reduced duplicated names in the 1930s.”

 

 

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