Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

How the West End has won: the struggle to remove street barriers in Victorian London

Atkins, P.J.


P.J. Atkins


The West End of London was a long-lived élite residential district. One feature which helped to establish its privileged character was the protection of certain key boundaries with barriers impermeable to non-residential traffic. Public dislike of restrictions on movement hardened in the mid-nineteenth century into the lobbying of Parliament and the establishment of pressure groups. In the case of gates and bars across private streets, the most effective opposition came from local authorities and a number of prominent vestrymen. The paper shows change accelerated with the installation of the London County Council. Acts of Parliament in 1890 and 1893 sealed the fate of many street obstructions and significantly changed the balance of public and private space in London. Notice is hereby given that there is no public thoroughfare through this estate. That no cattle are allowed to be driven through this estate, to or from the New Cattle Market, Islington. That no tramps, vagrants, organ grinders, bands of musicians, or disreputable characters are permitted on the estate. That no railway vans, coal waggons, beer trucks or carts, furniture vans, dung carts, or other heavy traffic, are allowed to pass through the gates of this estate, unless they have to deliver or take up goods on the estate. That no hackney coaches are allowed on the estate, except going to or returning from the residence of any inhabitant, either to take up or set down. By order of the trustees of the Marquis of Camden.


Atkins, P. (1993). How the West End has won: the struggle to remove street barriers in Victorian London. Journal of Historical Geography, 19(3), 265-277.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 1, 1993
Deposit Date Dec 12, 2012
Journal Journal of Historical Geography
Print ISSN 0305-7488
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 3
Pages 265-277