History of Oxford Street in pictures

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A gallery of images from the history of London's busiest shopping streets

Its hard to imagine that Oxford Street was once lined with independent traders selling their wares from small shops, while the main mode of transport wasn't the bus but horse and cart. Today, it is the capital's most famous shopping area, attracting millions of people each year to browse its department and flagship stores. Time Out takes a look back at images and facts about its history. Words by Abigail Lelliott

The street

Oxford Street looking east Oxford Street looking east - © Tim Motion

At 1 1/2 miles long and stretching from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road, Oxford street is said to be Europe's busiest shopping street. It's home to some of London's biggest department stores and is high street shopping heaven. it was once know as Tyburn Road after the River Tyburn which now runs underneath it.

It's commercial history starts when it was a main route for transporting prisoners from Newgate prison who were to be hanged before a large crowd at the Tyburn Tree gallows, near to where Marble Arch stands today. The shopping thoroughfare was developed by the Earl of Oxford in 1782 as he bought land either side of the road and renamed it Oxford Street.


During WWII the street fell victim to two nights of bombing raids destroying much historic architecture and retail businesses that had been established for generations.




The Street Marble Arch Selfridges HMV John Lewis The Plaza shopping centre Marks and Spencer Christmas Lights Diagonal Crossing Future developments

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