Aldwych and Kingsway Scheme 1905 and 1920-1929

The Aldwych and Kingsway scheme was the London County Council's first large urban improvement scheme in central London. It was opened in 1905 and signalled the council's vision of London as a modern city of tree-lined boulevards, office blocks and free-flowing traffic.

There had long been calls for a new route for traffic between Holborn and Fleet Street, but it was not until the London County Council (L.C.C) came into existence that the scheme took shape. A new road was proposed between Holborn and Fleet Street. The slum properties and crowded alleys at the east end of the Strand would first have to be cleared, which was seen as a further advantage of the scheme.

Although modern in spirit, the scheme respected London's past. The new crescent at the south end was designed around the historic church of St Clement Danes. The Saxon-sounding name given to the new crescent, Aldwych, was chosen as a reminder of London's long history of continuous settlement.

The scheme's large boulevard, running north to Holborn, was named Kingsway in honour of Edward VII. A hundred feet (30 metres) wide, it was London's widest street and thoroughly modern in spirit, not least because a tunnel for electric trams ran beneath it. The building plots on either side of the new boulevard were leased to speculative builders, the intention being that this would become London's new commercial district.

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