Although an American invention, Monopoly is a popular board game the world over. In the United Kingdom there are a number of Monopoly games available, but easily the most popular version is set in the capital: London. The majority of properties represented on the Monopoly board are still in existence today and can be visited by the general public. Visiting all the spaces on the Monopoly board is a relatively common experience that many Londoners turn into an evening out, taking part in what we call a ‘Monopoly Pub Crawl.’ But with or without the drink, a journey across London’s Monopoly Board is an interesting and unique way to visit London. From those who love to travel, to those who love the game, keep up with our trip around the Monopoly Board and experience London in an entirely new way!
Part 4 – Oranges
As a group, the most frequented spaces on the Board, the Oranges represent the old Legal and Police forces in London.
Top Tourist Tip: Nearby Bow Street lies Covent Garden, a popular spot to watch street performers and visit the market which has roots here that go back to the 1650’s
Now the site of the Royal Opera House, Bow Street runs through Covent Garden and was previously the home of the Lord Protector (and regicide) Oliver Cromwell in 1645. But Bow Street is truly well known in London for being the home of the Bow Street Runners - London’s first professional police force, which was based here upon its’ creation in 1749 by Henry Fielding. The Bow Street Group, as they called themselves, disbanded in 1839, having set the president for the regularisation of police forces in the capital. In 1919, Bow Street was the site for a riot (sparked by issues over gambling) in Covent Garden involving over 2000 Australian, American, and Canadian) service men and 50 police officers known as the ‘Battle of Bow Street.’ Bow Street Magistrate’s Court was also located here, from the early 18th century and it was here that Oscar Wilde, Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, The Kray Twins, and even Casanova all stood trial before the Court was closed in July 2006. Bought by an Austrian company, it is rumoured to be set to re-open as a police museum in future.
(Great) Marlborough Street (£180)
Named after the Commander of the English Army, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, the Street is actually named Great Marlborough Street and why the ‘Great’ was omitted from the Monopoly Game is not entirely certain. Originally, Great Marlborough Street was a fashionable, high-society address, however nowadays it is almost entirely commercial with buildings dating no earlier than the Victorian era. Home to Liberty’s, one of London’s oldest and most luxurious department stores, the famous mock-Tudor frontage of the property has been built from the timber of two ships that saw service with the Navy – The HMS Impregnable and the HMS Hindustan.
Vine Street (£200)
One of the strangest locations on the Monopoly Board, Vine Street is actually not home to the frontage of any buildings whatsoever and, instead, is bordered by the back end of numerous offices and shops. Originally, this street was Little Vine Street, and outcropping of a longer previous Vine Street which was named after a pub located nearby in the 18th century. It was the creation of the police station in 1829 that brought Vine Street to public attention – and it was at this station that the Marquess of Queensberry was brought in to be charged with criminal libel against Oscar Wilde, which would eventually bring about the author’s downfall. The police station closed in 1940 and now all that remains of Vine Street is a small alley, tucked away behind the bustling Regent Street. Those stopping by on a Monopoly Pub Crawl may be surprised to note that there are actually no pubs on this street!