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Old Street | EC1V

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Old Street Area Info

Old Street Area Info

Old Street is a district in the London Borough of Hackney which surrounds the road of the same name that connects Clerkenwell and Farringdon to the East and Shoreditch to the west. The closest underground station is Old Street on the Northern Line as well as being on the Northern City Line. The western part of Old Street is inside of the London Congestion Charging Zone. The area is residence to a number of technology companies forming the third largest tech cluster in the world after San Francisco and New York, which has led to the main roundabout being known locally as the Silicon Roundabout.

Old Street’s location has meant that the area has become dominated by traffic and it has slowly evolved into a major thoroughfare in and out of the City. Sadly, this has taken the attention away from everything else that the area has to offer. This is all due to change however with major highway and underground works and public realm improvements being undertaken which are designed to help return Old Street to its former glory as a young, vibrant and chic area to live and work.

The area around Old Street has also not escaped growth with both residential and commercial new developments cropping up. Most notably, online retailer Amazon is rumoured to occupy one of the new commercial workspace developments at Principal Place.

Things To Do In Old Street

It’s by no coincidence that due to the number of tech companies in Old Street, there are no shortages of cafes and bars. If you are feeling peckish then the following eateries are located around the Old Street area; the Lunch Club, Hoi Polloi, Rivington Bar, Montcalm & Grill or Meat Mission. Venture round the corner on City Road you’ll find the instantly recognisable alongside Abokado deli and sushi bar.

Well worth a visit is Whitecross Market. This is a Weekday outdoor market packed with stalls offering a variety of street food. The surrounding area also has a number of examples of works by graffiti artists such as Jef Aérosol and Banksy. Several pieces of works by Banksy can be seen at Shoreditch Bridge. If you want to find some green space nearby then Hoxton Square, Finsbury Square, Kings Square Gardens and Shoreditch Park are all close by.

For something slightly more cultured, head over to St Luke’s on Old Street, home to the London Symphony Orchestra. This imposing Anglican church is now a rehearsal and performance venue for the LSO and also houses their community and music education programme. Regular performances are held here and past notable names include Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Sir Elton John and Van Morrison, all of whom have recorded or performed at St Luke’s.

Regulars to the Old Street area can even get access to offers and discounts on purchases, evenings out, entertainment, meals, gym memberships and more with the Old Street District Urban Card.

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History of Old Street

Originally recorded as Ealdestrate circa 1200 and le Oldestrete in 1373. There is much speculation that the road might have been Roman as a connecting Silchester and Colchester, by passing round the City of London. The theory does bear out however. The eastern end connects Shoreditch High Street which started out as a Roman Road named Ermine Street. To the west, it joins up with Goswell Road, another Roman Route through Aldersgate. Goswell Road is also famous in its own right being the site of the first recorded – and at the time highly controversial – 4 minute mile which was set by a barrow boy called James Parrot on 9th May 1770. His winnings? 15 Guineas, equivalent to nearly 4 months’ wages! Of course, the record was famously broken by the late Sir Roger Bannister in 1954.

Old Street station opened in 1901 and is located under Silicon Roundabout. The station and its surroundings were modernised in the late 1960’s to include the sub surface structure you see today which also included space for various pop up retailers. The area has become influential in the UK’s cultural history. Commercially, the area is thriving with businesses including advertising, media and entertainment and financial firms. Old Street and nearby areas Great Eastern Street, Hoxton Square and Shoreditch are known for their nightlife.

Most notably, William Shakespeare performed at Britain’s first permanent playhouse which was located on Curtain Road in 1576 and many of his plays had their debut in and around the area. London’s first Methodist church was set up in Old Street on Dereham Street back in 1739 by the leading cleric John Wesley. Its previous incarnation was that of a foundry which made cannons for the Royal Arsenal and the nearby Honourable Artillery Company. The Church moved to City Road in 1778 where it still stands today.

Since 1899, Old Street has been home to the world renowned Moorfields Eye Hospital which, if you follow the painted green line out of Old Street station which is there to aid Moorfield’s visually impaired visitors, you’ll come across about 10 minutes’ walk along City Road.

Silicon Roundabout - London
Silicon Roundabout - London

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