What’s in a name?…Lancaster Gate…

June 18, 2012

Now perhaps best known as a Tube station and a street and square in Bayswater, just west of the City, the name Lancaster Gate was actually first applied to a gateway located on the northern side of Kensington Gardens, close to where the ornamental water gardens known as the Italian Gardens now stand.

The gate is believed to have been named after Queen Victoria, in her capacity as the head of the Duchy of Lancaster (since the days of King Henry IV, the duchy has been the personal property of the monarch).

The nearby housing development of Lancaster Gate, centred on Christ Church followed in the mid 1800s (designed by Sancton Wood). The church closed in 1977 and was turned into housing in 1983; all that now remains architecturally are the church’s tower and spire.

Among people associated with the street is the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie who resided in a hotel here at the start of World War II.

The Tube station where bears the name Lancaster Gate opened in 1900.

For more on Tube station names, try Cyril M Harris’ What’s in a Name?: Origins of Station Names on the London Underground.

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