Whitehall, SW1A

Place Name

Site of Whitehall Palace, the riverside Palace of the English kings from Henry VIII to William III, which was on this site until it was destroyed by fire in 1698, leaving only Banqueting House. It had previously been known as York Place, which since it was built in about 1240 served as the sumptuous London residence of the Bishops of York. The property was redeveloped and extended during Tudor times by statesman and bishop Thomas Wolsey on a huge scale. But when Wolsey fell foul of King Henry VIII in 1529, the palace was confiscated by the crown and renamed Whitehall, possibly because of the whiteness of its stones, or possibly in imitation of the famous White Hall within the old Palace of Westminster. Shakespeare relates in Henry VIII: “You must no more call it York Place; that’s past; For, since the Cardinal fell, that title’s lost: ‘Tis now the King’s, and call’d Whitehall.” It is recorded as Whitehall alias Yorke place in 1530, and as Whytthalle at Westminster that sometime was the bysshope of Yorkes place in 1533. Henry VIII died there in 1547. John¬†Rocque’s 1746 map of London designates the northern stretch of Whitehall from the statue of Charles I down to approximately Great Scotland Yard as an extension of Charing Cross which formed a T-section linking Cockspur Street and The Strand. On the Agas 1560 map of London the street is the site of the palace gates and labelled The Courte gate. It was extended in the 18thCentury, obliterating the north end of the old King Street.








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