Tottenham Court Road

Tottenham Court Road is a major London shopping street with a particularly high concentration of electronics shops, although in the last decade or so it has become more general.

This is one of the older roads in London. Its name comes from Tottenham Court, a manor at the northern end of the road. This was called ‘Totehele’ in the Domesday Book of 1086, and by the 15th century the area had become referred to as Totten, Totham or Totting Hall. Around this time the manor was leased to Queen Elizabeth and became known as Tottenham Court.

Did you know? Tottenham Court Road is the site of what is almost certainly the world’s only ‘beer tsunami.’ The event is known as the London Beer Flood, and it happened at the Horse Shoe Brewery, on the junction of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road, where the Dominion Theatre now stands. In 1814 a 22ft-tall wooden barrel full to four inches of the top with porter burst, when one of its iron bands slipped and the container gave way. This released 3555 imperial barrels of porter, and the force of this took out a second huge barrel and several hogsheads. A 25ft brick wall practically exploded from the pressure (bricks landed on top of houses in nearby streets), two houses were destroyed and eight people died.

Photo by The.Comedian, Flickr

In total nearly a million litres of black beer went down Tottenham Court Road and nearby streets. The crest of the beer wave was said to be nearly 15ft high, and it knocked people out of upstairs windows!