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Shaftesbury Avenue early on a Saturday morning
Shaftesbury Avenue from Piccadilly Circus in 1949
For the racehorse, see, Shaftesbury Avenue (horse)

Shaftesbury Avenue is a major street in London, England, named after Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, that runs in a north-easterly direction from Piccadilly Circus to New Oxford Street, crossing Charing Cross Road at Cambridge Circus.

Shaftesbury Avenue was built in the late 19th century (1877–86) by the architect, George Vulliamy, and the engineer, Sir Joseph Bazalgette[1][2] to provide a north-south traffic artery through the crowded districts of St. Giles and Soho. It was also part of a slum-clearance measure, to push impoverished workers out of the city centre[citation needed] although the street's construction was stalled by legislation requiring rehousing some of these displaced residents, overcrowding persisted. Charles Booth's Poverty Map shows the neighbourhood makeup shortly after Shaftesbury Avenue opened. It is generally considered the heart of London's West End theatre district, with the Lyric, Apollo, Gielgud and Queen's theatres clustered together on the north side of the road between Piccadilly Circus and Charing Cross Road. At the intersection of Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road there is also the large Palace Theatre. Finally, the north-eastern end of the road has another large theatre, called the Shaftesbury Theatre.

The Saville Theatre used to be on Shaftesbury Avenue, but this has become the Odeon Covent Garden, a cinema. Another, the Curzon cinema, is located in the middle of the Avenue.

Shaftesbury Avenue is also the beginning of London Chinatown. The number of Chinese business on the Avenue has been on the increase and on the ground level alone in Aug 2007, there are 2 traditional Chinese medicine practices, 5 Chinese restaurants, 3 Chinese supermarkets, 3 Chinese travel agents, 2 Chinese Mobile phone outlets, 1 Chinese cake shop, 2 Chinese Hair salons, 1 Chinese fishmonger, 1 Chinese Newsagent, 1 Chinese bureau de change and 3 Chinese banks[3].

In the evening, street artists gather on the pavement outside the NatWest bank at the Piccadilly end of the Avenue and produce portraits for the tourists.[4].

Shaftesbury Avenue was the birth place of Cat Stevens.

Shaftesbury Avenue is a film location for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (films).

Shaftesbury Avenue is mentioned in the Dire Straits song Wild West End.

See also

Notes

External links

Coordinates: 51°30′43″N 0°07′55″W / 51.512°N 0.132°W / 51.512; -0.132

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