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definition - Oxford_Street

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Oxford Street

Oxford Street
UK road A40.svg
Heavy Bus Traffic on Oxford Street.jpg
The view east along Oxford Street, showing Routemaster buses before their withdrawal from routes serving the street
Length 1.5 mi (2.4 km)
Location Westminster, London, UK
East end Marble Arch
West end Tottenham Court Road
Known for Shopping, Selfridges, Marble Arch, Oxford Circus

Oxford Street is a major thoroughfare in the City of Westminster in the West End of London, United Kingdom. It is Europe's busiest shopping street, and as of 2011 had approximately 300 shops.[1][2] The street was formerly part of the London-Oxford road which began at Newgate, City of London, and was known as the Oxford Road. Today it forms part of the A40 trunk road, although like many roads in central London which are no longer through routes it is not signposted with the road number.

Roughly halfway along Oxford Street is Oxford Circus, a busy intersection with Regent Street. A diagonal crossing at Oxford Circus opened in 2009, currently the only one of its kind in central London.

Common sights on Oxford Street include preachers (such as Philip Howard) and political demonstrations (such as the 2001 May Day protests).



  The road leading west from London is Oxford Street

Oxford Street runs for approximately one and a half miles (two and a half kilometres) from Marble Arch at the north east corner of Hyde Park, through Oxford Circus to St Giles Circus, at the intersection with Charing Cross Road and Tottenham Court Road. Eastwards, the road then becomes New Oxford Street until it runs into High Holborn. Oxford Street intersects with other London roads including Park Lane, New Bond Street and Regent Street. West of Marble Arch, Oxford Street becomes Bayswater Road, then Notting Hill Gate and Holland Park Avenue until it becomes the Uxbridge Road at Shepherd's Bush Roundabout. At Uxbridge it becomes the Oxford Road again, all the way to Oxford, save for some short sections where it has been given a local name.


  Oxford Street in 1875, looking west from the junction with Duke Street. The buildings on the right are on the future site of Selfridges

Oxford Street follows the route of a Roman road, the via Trinobantina, which linked Hampshire with Colchester and became one of the major routes in and out of the city.

Between the 12th century and 1782 it was variously known as Tyburn Road (after the River Tyburn that ran just to the south of it, and now flows underneath it), Uxbridge Road (this name is still used for the portion of the London-Oxford road between Shepherds Bush and Uxbridge), Worcester Road and Oxford Road.[3] It became notorious as the route taken by prisoners on their final journey from Newgate Prison to the gallows at Tyburn near Marble Arch. By about 1729, the road had become known as Oxford Street.[4]

In the late 18th century, many of the surrounding fields were purchased by the Earl of Oxford, and the area was developed. It became popular with entertainers including bear-baiters and masquerades, and for entertainment buildings such as the Pantheon. During the 19th century, the area became known for its shops.

Oxford Street suffered considerable bombing during the Second World War.[5] During the night and early hours of 17 to 18 September 1940 the street suffered particularly heavy bombing, and many buildings were badly damaged or destroyed, including four department stores: John Lewis, Selfridges, Bourne & Hollingsworth and Peter Robinson.[5] In September 1973 a shopping-bag bomb was detonated by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) at the offices of the Prudential Assurance Company on Oxford Street, injuring six people.[6] A further bomb was detonated by the IRA on the street in December, injuring three people.[7]


  The United Colors of Benetton shop on Oxford Street

Oxford Street is home to a number of major department stores and numerous flagship stores, as well as hundreds of smaller shops. It is the biggest shopping street within Inner London, and though not necessarily the most expensive or fashionable, is considered to be the most important, and forms part of a larger shopping district with Regent Street, Bond Street and a number of other smaller nearby streets.

For many British retail chains their Oxford Street branch is regarded as their 'flagship' store. Major stores on the street include:

  • Debenhams, the flagship of the national department store chain. Formerly Marshall & Snelgrove, renamed in 1973 after being rebuilt. The original Debenham & Freebody store was in nearby Wigmore Street
  • HMV, the music retailer has three stores on the street including a concession within Selfridges and its shop at 150 Oxford Street, which is Europe's largest music shop at 50,000 square feet (5,000 m2)
  • House of Fraser, the London flagship of the national department store chain. The store traded as D H Evans until 2000. It is located in an art-deco building completed in 1935; the first department store in the UK to include escalators serving every floor
  • John Lewis, the third-largest department store in the UK and flagship of the John Lewis chain, opened in 1864
  • Marks & Spencer. Marks & Spencer Marble Arch, largest Marks & Spencer store of 170,000 square feet (16,000 m2) at the junction of Oxford Street and Orchard Street. A second branch between Regent Street and Tottenham Court Road stands on the site of the famous Pantheon building. Its fine polished black granite frontage completed in 1938 was awarded Grade II Listed Building status in September 2009.
  • New Look
  • Schuh, the largest shoe store on Oxford Street
  • Selfridges, the second-largest department store in the UK and flagship of the Selfridges chain, it has been on this site for over a century
  • Topshop

  Transport links

  A view of Oxford street in 1987, with Selfridges on the right
  Oxford Street, at a busy junction

Oxford Street is served by the Central Line (which runs parallel beneath it), Jubilee Line, Bakerloo Line, Northern Line and Victoria Line of the London Underground, as well as many major bus routes.

Tube stations along Oxford Street, starting at Marble Arch (western-most):

Crossrail will have two stations serving Oxford Street, at Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road. Each station will be "double-ended", with exits through the existing tube station and also some distance away: to the east of Bond Street, in Hanover Square near Oxford Circus;[8] to the west of Tottenham Court Road, in Dean Street.[9]

Oxford Street is designated a bus lane along its entire length, open only to buses, taxis and two-wheeled vehicles in the daytime on all days except Sundays.

Heavy congestion due to the number of buses and bus stops in Oxford Street, plus traffic crossing Oxford Street between Marylebone to the north and Mayfair and Soho to the south, led to proposals in 2006-08 from the New West End Company, the Mayor of London's office and several of the Mayoral candidates to pedestrianise Oxford Street with a tram service running end to end.[10] However the new Mayor, Boris Johnson, elected in May 2008, announced on 6 November 2008 that the Oxford Street Tram/Transit scheme would not be progressed within the TfL Business Plan 2009/10 – 2017/18 as the scheme was unaffordable and the disruption during construction would be very substantial. In response to a request from the Mayor, Transport for London undertook to reduce the bus flow in Oxford Street by 10% in each of 2009 and 2010.[11] In January 2009 the New West End Company had called for a 33% reduction in bus movements in Oxford Street.[12]

Oxford Street can become congested both on the pavements, due to the large number of shoppers and tourists, and on the roadway as a result of the many buses routed along the street. Largely because of the diesel-engined traffic in the street (buses and taxis), annual average NO2 concentrations on Oxford Street are around 180 μg per cubic metre. This is 4.5 times the EU target of 40 μg per cubic metre (Council Directive 1999/30/EC).[13]

Since 2004 Oxford Street has been made traffic-free on a Saturday before Christmas. In 2009 this was on Saturday 5 December, from 12 noon. It was promoted as "VIP Day", where VIP stands for Very Important Pedestrian.[14] The promoters were the New West End Company, which represents retailers and property owners in Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street. Oxford Street was also made traffic-free on Saturday 23 May 2009, from 12 noon until 5 pm. This was the first time Oxford Street had been made traffic-free on a day in May. However the May traffic-free day was not repeated in 2010. The VIP Day before Christmas in 2010 was Saturday 27 November.[15] In 2011 Saturday and Sunday 10-11 December were designated "VIP Weekend", with Oxford Street and Regent Street traffic-free during shopping hours.[16]

  Christmas lights

  The 2005 Oxford Street Christmas lights

Each Christmas Oxford Street is decorated with festive lights. The Christmas lights began in 1959, five years after the neighbouring Regent Street began the tradition. In 1967, as recession hit London, the lights were stopped and only returned in 1978 when Oxford Street organised a laser display.[17]

In mid- to late-November a celebrity turns on the lights and they remain lit until 6 January (Twelfth Night). The following celebrities have turned on the lights since 1981:


Oxford Street is a square on the British Monopoly game board, forming part of the green set (together with Regent Street and Bond Street).

  See also


  1. ^ "Land Securities to Spend $1.1 Billion on London Developments". Bloomberg. 19 January 2010. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a0D86ca5MwuM. Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "Oxford Street gets its own dedicated local police team". The Londoner. September 2006. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070930204913/http://www.london.gov.uk/londoner/06sep/p7a.jsp. Retrieved 19 June 2007. 
  3. ^ Oxford Street: The Development of the Frontage, in Survey of London: volume 40: The Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 (The Buildings) (1980), pp. 171-173, from British History Online
  4. ^ Tottenham Court Road in Old and New London: Volume 4 (1878), pp. 467-480, from British History Online
  5. ^ a b "The Blitz: Oxford Street's store wars". BBC News. 6 September 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/london/hi/people_and_places/history/newsid_8937000/8937074.stm. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Shopping-bag bomb explodes in London". The Miami News. 12 September 1973. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=rdglAAAAIBAJ&sjid=gPMFAAAAIBAJ&pg=2039,903701&dq=oxford+street&hl=en. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "London's Oxford St. bombed". The Montreal Gazette. 20 December 1974. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=YRMyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=2aEFAAAAIBAJ&pg=904,1108071&dq=oxford+street&hl=en. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  8. ^ "Bond Street Station - design". Crossrail. http://www.crossrail.co.uk/route/stations/bond-street/design#content. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  9. ^ "Tottenham Court Road - design". Crossrail. http://www.crossrail.co.uk/route/stations/tottenham-court-road/design#content. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  10. ^ "Mayor's Oxford Street tram vision". BBC. 31 August 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/5301366.stm. Retrieved 2010-05-09. 
  11. ^ "Streets ahead: Relieving congestion on Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street". London Assembly Transport Committee. 4 February 2010. http://legacy.london.gov.uk/assembly/transport/2010/mar02/item06a.pdf. Retrieved 2010-05-09.  See Appendix 1.
  12. ^ "Way To Go January 2009". New West End Company. http://www.newwestend.com/generic/document/content/393. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  13. ^ "Developing a new Air Quality Strategy and Action Plan - Consultation on Issues". Westminster City Council. August 2008. http://www3.westminster.gov.uk/docstores/publications_store/Developing%20a%20new%20Air%20Quality%20Strategy%20and%20Action%20Plan%20-%20Consultation%20on%20Issues.pdf.  See p 10
  14. ^ "West End shoppers celebrate VIP Day". West End Marketing Alliance. 2009-12-10. http://www.westendlondon.com/Whats-Happening/West-End-shoppers-celebrate-VIP-Day.aspx. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  15. ^ "Shop West End Marketing Strategy 2010/11". http://www.newwestend.com/programmes/marketing_and_events/annual_plan. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  16. ^ "We're giving you London's West End on Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 December". http://www.westendvip.com/weekend. Retrieved 2011-12-11. 
  17. ^ "London's bright past". BBC. 22 December 1997. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/special_report/for_christmas/_new_year/christmas_decorations/41518.stm. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Swinnerton, Jo (2004). The London Companion. Robson Books. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-86105-799-0. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=DiN8mA7CcaYC&pg=PA24&dq=%22esther+rantzen%22%22oxford+street%22+christmas+lights&ct=result#v=onepage&q=%22esther%20rantzen%22%22oxford%20street%22%20christmas%20lights&f=false. 
  19. ^ Sinclair, David (2004). Wannabe: how the Spice Girls reinvented pop fame. Omnibus Press. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-7119-8643-5. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=UeGVatY5WzIC&pg=PA90&dq=%22Spice+Girls%22+%22Oxford+Street%22+lights&ct=result#v=onepage&q=%22Oxford%20Street%22%20lights&f=false. "They [the Spice Girls] were an obvious choice, for example, to switch on the Oxford Street Christmas Lights in November 1996, a commitment which they took conspicuous delight in fulfilling." 
  20. ^ McGeever, Mike (1997-12-20). "Peter Andre's got the 'Time'". Billboard: p. 18. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=4wkEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA18&dq=%22Peter+Andre%22+%22Oxford+Street%22+lights&ct=result#v=onepage&q=%22Oxford%20Street%22%20lights&f=false. Retrieved 2010-11-28. "Andre has become a familiar face in Britain, where he was the celebrity chosen for the high-level media of switching on the Christmas lights Nov. 7 on London's Oxford Street." 
  21. ^ "Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit". BBC. 19 November 1999. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/527422.stm. 
  22. ^ "Charlotte lighting up London". charlottechurch.net. 21 November 2000. http://www.charlottechurch.net/news/arch11.html. 
  23. ^ Hu, Claire (2001-11-01). "Seven light up Oxford St heavens". Evening Standard. http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-815013-seven-light-up-oxford-st-heavens.do. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  24. ^ "Enrique Turns It On For London Shoppers". Sky News. 2003-11-21. http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Sky-News-Archive/Article/200806412931596?chooseNews=Popular_stories. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  25. ^ "Enrique the Christmas hero". Mirror. 2003-10-28. http://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/news/2003/10/28/enrique-the-christmas-hero-115875-13563380/. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  26. ^ "Festive switch-on for Potter star". BBC. 16 November 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4012555.stm. 
  27. ^ "Westlife switch on festive lights". BBC. 15 November 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4436544.stm. 
  28. ^ "Westlife switch on London's Christmas lights". RTÉ Ten. 2005-11-16. http://www.rte.ie/ten/2005/1116/westlife.html. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  29. ^ "Energy row over Christmas lights". BBC. 9 November 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6132964.stm. 
  30. ^ "Leona to turn on Christmas lights". BBC. 29 October 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7067102.stm. 
  31. ^ Carmichael, Sri (2007-11-08). "Thousands see Oxford Street lit up by spirit of Christmas". Evening Standard. http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/events/article-23420111-thousands-see-oxford-street-lit-up-by-spirit-of-christmas.do. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  32. ^ Pilkington, Diana (13 November 2008). "Christmas crackers: Sugababes light up West End as X Factor finalists sing for screaming crowds". London: Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1085201/Christmas-crackers-Sugababes-light-West-End-X-Factor-finalists-sing-screaming-crowds.html. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  33. ^ "Sugababes switch on Oxford Street Christmas lights". The Telegraph (London). 2008-11-13. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/celebritynews/3449286/Sugababes-switch-on-Oxford-Street-Christmas-lights.html. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  34. ^ "Jim Carrey switches on Oxford Street Christmas lights". London: The Telegraph. 3 November 2009. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/christmas/6496308/Jim-Carrey-switches-on-Oxford-Street-Christmas-lights.html. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  35. ^ "Actor Carrey switches on lights". BBC News. 2009-11-04. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/8339611.stm. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  36. ^ "Rihanna lights up Westfield". London Evening Standard. 5 November 2010. http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/showbiz/article-23894797-rihanna-reveals-longing-to-live-in-uk-as-she-switches-on-westfield-christmas-lights.do. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 

  External links

Coordinates: 51°30′49″N 0°09′20″W / 51.51361°N 0.15556°W / 51.51361; -0.15556



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