We’re at the top of the Monopoly board where the properties start to get interesting. What we’re really referring to are the financial rewards and the reds of Strand, Fleet Street and Trafalgar Square are some of the most landed-upon squares on the whole board.
Read on to find out the fascinating story of the Reds!
There’s no getting away from it, Christmas is coming! You’ll buy enough food to feed a small army, presents to keep under the tree and hideous jumpers with reindeers on but after lunch what to do? Monopoly of course, it’s almost the law, but aside from being the world’s most popular board game that turns 80 this year, there are lots of facts about the game you may not know…
Strand (£220); Rent £18; 1 House £90; 2 Houses £250; 3 Houses £700; 4 Houses £875; Hotel £1,050
It hasn’t always been called Strand. In fact, in 1002, it was known as Strondway, in 1185 as Stronde and in 1220, la Stranda. It’s a derivative of the old English word ‘strand’ meaning ‘shore’ and formed part of a shallow bank of the Thames before the Victoria Embankment was built.
Today the Strand runs from Trafalgar Square to Temple Bar where it continues into Fleet Street (hence the grouping on the game board) and in the 13th century it was known as Densemanestret or ‘street of the Danes’ because of the Danish community that settled in the area in the 9th century and who built the famous church of St Clement Danes.
The art deco splendour of the Savoy Hotel sits on the Strand as does the entrance to the magnificent Somerset House and the road was popularised in the famous music hall song ‘Let’s All Go Down the Strand’. In the 19th century it was the centre of Victorian theatre although almost all of the most popular venues of the day are long gone.
Savoy Hotel, Strand, London © Nick Garrod
Today, the Strand is noted for its connections to travel, with hotels, luggage and tourists agents lining its length as well as famous stamp dealers including Stanley Gibbons.
Fleet Street (£220); Rent £18; 1 House £90; 2 Houses £250; 3 Houses £700; 4 Houses £875; Hotel £1,050
Say Fleet Street to anyone in the UK and the immediate association is with the newspaper industry since William Caxton’s apprentice, the perfectly named Wynkyn de Worde set up a printing shop near Shoe Lane around 1500. Even though most of them moved out in the 1980s, the evocative image of hacks hunkering down in pubs and drinking holes looking for the scoop remains.
Fleet Street, Daily Courant © Matt Brown
Fleet Street was named after the River Fleet, the largest underground river in London and was the road that linked the City to the political hub at Westminster in the 13thcentury. Perhaps a natural extension of this was the development of the legal quarter. Temple, formerly the property of the Knights Templar, includes two of the four Inns of Court and the Royal Courts of Justice and the Old Bailey are a few minutes’ walk away.
Today the association is predominantly with high finance. Banking behemoth Goldman Sachs is in the old Daily Telegraph building; England’s oldest private bank C. Hoare & Co have been there since 1690 and the much-maligned Royal Bank of Scotland has been there since 1580.
Trafalgar Square (£240); Rent £20; 1 House £100; 2 Houses £300; 3 Houses £750; 4 Houses £925; Hotel £1,100
Initially laid out by architect John Nash in the 1820s, Trafalgar Square is one of London’s most famous tourist destinations and up until 2001 it was also the home to what seemed like most of London’s pigeons.
Named after the Battle of Trafalgar, perhaps Britain’s most famous naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars, the centrepiece of the magnificent square is Nelson’s Column. A Corinthian column designed by William Railton a little over 169ft in height, it is guarded on all corners by four bronze lions designed by Sir Edwin Landseer.
Trafalgar Square, London © Sathish J
Now pedestrianised, Trafalgar Square is bordered by the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, the church of St Martin-in-the-Field and a giant Waterstone’s bookstore and if you’re in London over Christmas and New Year, Trafalgar Square is a great place to be to join in the revelling!