Everyone loves the Greens, don’t they? Unlike most of the sets on the Monopoly board, Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street are three of the most famous and instantly recognisable streets in all of Europe but they weren't always about shopping!
London’s history is all at once fascinating, vibrant, funny, dark, macabre and two thousand years old and here is the history of the Greens…
Regent Street (£300); Rent £26; 1 House £130; 2 Houses £390; 3 Houses £900; 4 Houses £1,100; Hotel £1,275
Named after the Prince Regent (who became George IV), Regent Street runs north to south from Portland Place down to Piccadilly Circus and is instantly recognisable for its wide, sweeping Nash terraces as well as, these days, the flagship Apple Store and Hamleys, the world’s greatest toyshop.
Regent Street Picture © Gabrielle Ludlow
Regent Street was one of London’s first examples of town planning, dispensing with the ‘industry standard’ of the day, a throwback to the mid-17th century of Wren’s classically formal model and it was intended as a commercial centre, hence the distinct lack of public spaces and gardens. In 1850, it was the first shopping area in the UK to see the value in late-night shopping with stores staying open to 7pm, perhaps a precursor to the highlight of the year, the Christmas lights that attract thousands of tourists and Londoners alike.
The only surviving Nash building on Regent Street is All Soul’s Church completed in 1823 and today, major residents include BBC Broadcasting House, Café Royal and Liberty as well as the aforementioned Apple Store and Hamleys.
Oxford Street (£300); Rent £26; 1 House £130; 2 Houses £390; 3 Houses £900; 4 Houses £1,100; Hotel £1,275
Oxford Street is one of the most iconic shopping streets in the world – think Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Fifth Avenue in New York and L’Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris – and the 300 shops and restaurants that traverse its 1.2 mile length from Marble Arch at the western end to Tottenham Court Road at the eastern end welcome more than 200m visitors a year.
It follows the route of a Roman road called the via Trinobantina and became famous – or infamous – as the route taken by condemned men from Newgate Prison to the gallows at Tyburn, where Marble Arch now stands. In fact, as the prison guards were transporting their charges to their final destination on a horse and cart, they would often stop at an inn along the route for a flagon of ale. When the innkeeper asked if the prisoner was to drink, the guards would reply ‘no, he’s on the wagon’ and this became a phrase that has entered the common parlance meaning to abstain from alcohol.
Oxford Circus Picture © Ihuga
When Harry Selfridge opened his eponymous store in 1909, Oxford Street became world famous and it’s now home to the department stores of John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Debenhams as well as flagship Nike, Hennes, TopShop and Adidas shops.
Bond Street (£320); £28; 1 House £150; 2 Houses £450; 3 Houses £1,000; 4 Houses £1,200; Hotel £1,400
Off the hustle, bustle and crowds of Oxford Street and you’ll find Bond Street, one of the world’s most luxurious shopping streets. As the bourgeoisie populated Mayfair in the 18th century, Bond Street – named for landowner Sir Thomas Bond – became a retail area for locals and a pretentious group of residents known as the Bond Street Loungers would parade up and down in expensive clothes and wigs to affirm their superiority.
Bond Street Picture © DncnH
In the 19th century, Bond Street took shape, with auctioneer Phillips and jeweller Asprey opening and these auspicious names have been followed by Sotheby’s, Tiffany, Chanel, Breitling, Bulgari, Rolex and De Beers. Where haute couture fashion is concerned, there’s no better place in London. Walk up and down Bond Street and the names scream out at you – Ralph Lauren, Fendi, Gucci, Prada, Donna Karan, Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Ermenegildo Zegna –so don’t forget to take your wallet and don’t forget to have your picture taken with Churchill and Roosevelt, if you can find them…
In commercial property terms, Bond Street is widely considered to be the best retail location in Europe and even if you’re not a Russian billionaire, it’s fun to go window shopping!