"the Strand cut into the Mall"

The Strand is one of central London’s major roads, running for three-quarters of a mile from Trafalgar Square to Temple Bar, where it joins Fleet Street. The name comes from the Old English ‘strand’ meaning beach, as the road used to follow the shore of the River Thames when it was wider and shallower.

Used as early as Roman times, the Strand was part of a main route between the City of London and the Royal Palace of Westminster. Between the twelfth and eighteenth centuries it was home to England’s aristocracy, with fine mansions and palaces lining both sides – all now gone except for Somerset House. In the eighteenth century, with the nobles departed for the West End, the Strand suffered something of a setback, becoming known for its coffee houses, bawdy taverns and prostitutes. However, in the nineteenth century it was gradually redeveloped with the building of the Victoria Embankmentwhich pushed the river away. It became the

The Mall, looking towards Buckingham Palace, decorated for the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in April 2011
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Mall, looking towards Buckingham Palace, decorated for the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in April 2011 - Credit: aurélien

favourite haunt of the literary and philosophical world – Dickens, Carlyle, Thackeray and John Stuart Mill were all regulars, and it was also the heart of Victorian theatre land. The only surviving theatres today are the Adelphi, Savoy and Vaudeville. Though not as much at the hub of the city as in Victorian times, the Strand is still a notable London street. The Strand is one of the red streets on a standard London Monopoly board.

The Mall is the road in central London which runs from Trafalgar Square (where it meets the Strand) to Buckingham Palace. Created as a ceremonial road in the early 20th century, the road is coloured red, which gives the effect of a long red carpet leading up to the Palace. It is closed to traffic on Sundays, public holiday and ceremonial occasions, and the regular scene of celebrations involving the royal family, when crowds throng the street in front of the Palace.