History of Oxford Street in pictures

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 Coronation coach passes the HMV shop. 1952 The Coronation coach passes the HMV shop. 1952 - © EMI Music LTD, EMI Archive Trust

In 1921 the first HMV store opened on Oxford Street and became synonymous with listening to and purchasing music that until then could only be heard in music halls. In the early sixties the store manager became acquainted a band manager, Brian Epstein. He visited the store with some demos from a new band. HMV's disc cutter Jim Foy, heard them and contacted Sid Coleman from Ardmore and Beechwood music publishers. Epstein was seeking a recording contract so Coleman called a Parlophone contact called George Martin. A few months later The Beatles arrived at Abbey Road studios to begin recording. No. 363 Oxford Street is now occupied by Foot Locker, but to the left of the entrance a blue plaque commemorates the original HMV store - it was unveiled in 2000 by Sir George Martin.

Visit HMV's flagship store at 150 Oxford Street

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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