Shoreditch High St Platform

Shoreditch High St Platform

Shoreditch High St Entrance

Shoreditch High St Entrance

Shoreditch High St Platform

Shoreditch High St Platform

 

The station officially opened to the public on 27 April 2010. The etymology of "Shoreditch" is debated. One legend holds that the place was originally named "Shore's Ditch", after Jane Shore, the mistress of Edward IV, who is supposed to have died or been buried in a ditch in the area. This legend is commemorated today by a large painting, at Haggerston Branch Library, of Jane Shore being retrieved from the ditch, and by a design on glazed tiles in a shop in Shoreditch High Street showing her meeting Edward IV. However, the area was known as "Soersditch" long before Jane Shore's life. A more plausible origin for the name is "Sewer Ditch", in reference to a drain or watercourse in what was once a boggy area. It may have referred to the headwaters of the river Walbrook, which rose in the Curtain Road area. In 1576 James Burbage built the first playhouse in England, known as "The Theatre", on the site of the Priory. Some of Shakespeare's plays were performed here and at the nearby Curtain Theatre, built the following year and 200 yards (183 m) to the south (marked by a commemorative plaque in Hewett Street off Curtain Road). It was here that Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet gained "Curtain plaudits" and where Henry V was performed within "this wooden O". In 1599 Shakespeare's Company literally upped sticks and moved the timbers of "The Theatre" to Southwark at expiration of the lease to construct The Globe. The Curtain continued performing plays in Shoreditch until at least 1627.

 

The suburb of Shoreditch was attractive as a location for these early theatres because it was outside the jurisdiction of the somewhat puritanical City fathers. Even so, they drew the wrath of contemporary moralists as did the local "base tenements and houses of unlawful and disorderly resort" and the "great number of dissolute, loose, and insolent people harboured in such and the like noisome and disorderly houses, as namely poor cottages, and habitations of beggars and people without trade, stables, inns, alehouses, taverns, garden-houses converted to dwellings, ordinaries, dicing houses, bowling alleys, and brothel houses". In the 19th and early 20th centuries Shoreditch was a centre of entertainment to rival the West End and boasted many theatres and music halls: The National Standard Theatre, 2/3/4 Shoreditch High Street (1837–1940). In the late 19th century this was one of the largest theatres in London. In 1926 it was converted into a cinema called The New Olympia Picturedrome. The building was demolished in 1940. Sims Reeves, Mrs Marriott and James Anderson all appeared here; also performed were programmes of classical opera and even Shakespeare, with such luminaries as Henry Irving. There was considerable rivalry with the West End theatres. John Douglass (the owner, from 1845) wrote a letter to The Era following a Drury Lane first night, in which he commented that "seeing that a hansom cab is used in the new drama at Drury Lane, I beg to state that a hansom cab, drawn by a live horse was used in my drama ... produced at the Standard Theatre ... with real rain, a real flood, and a real balloon". The Shoreditch Empire aka The London Music Hall, 95–99 Shoreditch High Street (1856–1935). The theatre was rebuilt in 1894 by Frank Matcham. the architect of the Hackney Empire. Charlie Chaplin is recorded as performing here, in his early days, before he achieved fame in America. The Royal Cambridge Music Hall, 136 Commercial Street (1864–1936), was destroyed by fire in 1896, then rebuilt in 1897 by Finch Hill, architect of the Britannia Theatre, in nearby Hoxton. The Builder of 4 December 1897 said "The New Cambridge Music Hall in Commercial Street, Bishopsgate, is now nearing completion. The stage will be 41 feet [12.5 m] wide by 30 feet [9.1 m] deep. The premises will be heated throughout by hot water coils, and provision has been made for lighting the house by electric light." None of these places of entertainment survive today. For a brief time music hall was revived in Curtain Road by the temporary home of the Brick Lane Music Hall. This too has now moved on.

 

The station was built on the former site of the Eastern Counties Railway's Shoreditch station, built in 1840, The original station was later renamed Bishopsgate and converted for use as a goods yard. It was destroyed by fire in 1964 and remained derelict until being demolished in 2005. The present station is fully enclosed in a concrete box structure so that future building works on the rest of the Bishopsgate site can be carried out without requiring the line to close in the future. The station is situated on a section of track constructed to link the original East London Line and the formerly disused North London Railway's Kingsland Viaduct. Construction of the link included a new bridge over Shoreditch High Street and links to Whitechapel via a bridge over Brick Lane and a ramp on the site of the former Shoreditch tube station. The station is in Travelcard Zone 1 and has wi-fi, lifts and help points but no toilets.

 

Connections: London Buses routes 8, 26, 35, 47, 48, 67, 78, 135, 149, 242 and 388 and night routes N8, N26 and N35 serve the station