This important Bayswater thoroughfare, which runs north from Bayswater Road, is one of numerous streets and districts of the city which take their name from the monarch – in this case Queen Victoria.
The street was once known as Black Lion Lane (named after a local inn) and was renamed the Queens Road in honour of Queen Victoria, soon after she came to the throne in 1837. It was changed to Queensway in 1938 to give the name a bit more distinctiveness.
It’s suggested that was reason for the renaming was that the road was one of the Queen’s favourite horse-riding routes when she was living at Kensington Palace (also her place of birth).
The street was the site of an early department store which was opened by William Whiteley and the origins of which go back to the mid-19th century (the building was rebuilt and most recently reopened as a shopping centre in 1989).
Other associations with the street include portrait painter Augustus Egg, who lived in a cottage in Black Lion Lane, and the Hitchcock film, Frenzy, scenes for which were apparently firmed at the then Coburg Hotel on the corner with Bayswater Road.
View north up Queensway from Bayswater tube station. PICTURE: Daniel Case/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
The origins of the name of this inner west London location on the northern side of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens go back to at least the 14th century when it was recorded as Bayard’s or perhaps Baynard’s watering place.
Bayard was the word for a bay-coloured horse but it is thought that instead the name here comes from a local landowner – it’s been suggested he may be the same Baynard whose name is was remembered in the long gone Norman fortification Baynard’s Castle in the City.
The name probably referred to a site where people on their way out of or headed to London stopped for a rest and some water; the water aspect may relate to springs or to the Westbourne Stream which ran through the area.
It’s now known for its culturally diverse population and high concentration of hotels. It’s also known for Georgian terraces – many of which have been converted into flats, mansion blocks and garden squares.
Notable residents have included Peter Pan author JM Barrie and former PM’s Tony Blair and Winston Churchill while landmarks include Whiteleys, a department store which first opened in the mid 19th century (and was later rebuilt after burning down).