Story Of London

A London Chronology: 1900 to 1929

A London Chronology: 1900 to 1929
Posted on Jun 17, 2002 – 04:04 AM by Bill McCann

This series of articles presents a basic chronology of London but will also contain references to national events where these are important in the development of the London area. Wherever possible, the precise dates and days of the week on which the events here recorded took place are noted. The series is an organic one and will change frequently as new events or dates are extracted from our sources.

You can either jump to the chronology for a specific century using the following table of links or scroll through the centuries sequentially by following the links at the bottom of the page.

Visit Specific Centuries
[43-500 AD][501-800]

The Twentieth Century
The First Decade: 1900-1909

A taxi rank and cabmen’s shelter in 1908

1900The Passmore Edwards Museum in Stratford was opened
1900The Royal Mail sorting office moved to Mount Pleasant
1900January 15thThe London Hippodrome opened at Charing Cross
1900February 27thThe Labour Party was founded in Farringdon Street
1900May 18thNews of the relief of Mafeking reached London
1900June 22ndThe Wallace Collection was opened to the public
1900July 30thThe first Central Line trains ran from Shepherd’s Bush to Bank
1900December 21stThe Camden Theatre was opened
1901The Horniman Museum at forest Hill opened.
1901The Trocadero Restaurant at Piccadilly Circus opened.
1901Schmidt’s German restaurant at Charlotte Street opened. It had the rudest waiters in London.
1901Gladstone Park in willesden was established in the Grounds of Dollis Hill House.
1901January 22Queen Victoria died and Edward VII acceded to the Crown.
1901March 12thThe Whitechapel Art Gallery opened.
1901April 4thThe first electric trams began to run.
1901JuneThe Wigmore Hall opened
1901August 22ndThe last sretch of line for horse trams opened.
1902Spitalfields Market was rebuilt
1902Charles Booth published hisLife and Labour of the People of London.
1902Thomas Thorneycroft’s statue of Boudicca on westminster Bridge was unveiled.
1902London’s first Crematorium was opened in Golders Green.
1902The Greenwich Foot Tunnel opened.
1902Brixton Prison opened.
1902Holloway Prison for female offenders opened.
1902May 6thThe Last hanging at Newgate took place. The prison was shortly afterwards demolished.
1902December 18thThe Metropolitan Water Board was established
1903Westminster Cathedral was opened
1903London’s first Marks and Spencer Penny Bazaar opened in Brixton
1903The first Foyl’e Bookshop was established at Peckham
1903The first Blue Plaque was installed. It is on the former house of Lord Macauley in Camden Hill.
1903January 27thA fire at the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum resulted in the deaths of more than 50 patients.
1903August 17thThe Shepherds Bush Empire opened.
1904The London School Board was abolished and its responsibilites taken over by the London County Council.
1904The Metropolitan Fire Brigade became the London Fire Brigade.
1904East Ham became a London Borough.
1904MayThe first London motorTaxi was licensed.
1904William George Barker began what was to become Ealing Studios.
1904The Jubilee Market at Covent Garden opened as the foreign Flower market
1904Hampstead Heath was extended by private funding to prevent the construction of a proposed new tube station at North end.
1904The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) was formed by Herbert Beerbohm.
1904January 19thThe Aeolian Hall in New Bond Street was established.
1904February 14thThe Great Northern and City Railway between Finsbury Park and Moorgate opened.
1904April 4thEaster Monday. The first annual Easter Parade of van horses was held at Regent’s park.
1904June 9thThe London Symphony Orchestra made its debut with Hans Richter conducting at the Queen’s Hall.
1904July 22ndThe Royal Horticultural Society opened its exhibition hall and headquarters at Vincent Square.
1904December 24thThe Coliseum in St Martin’s Lane opened as a variety theatre
1904December 31stThe rebuilt Lyceum Theatre in Wellington Street opened.
1905The Automobile Association was formed at 18 Fleet Street.
1905The Working Men’s College moved into new purpose-buiilt premises in Crowndale Road, Camden Town.
1905The power station to allow the electrification of the District Line was opened at Lots Road ikn Chelsea.
1905The Football Clubs, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic were formed.
1905February 11thThe last performance was given at St James’s Hall concert room in Piccadilly. It was replaced by the Piccadilly Hotel.
1905May 22ndThe Strand Theatre opened.
1905October 18thAldwych and Kingsway were oficially opened
1905December 5thPart of Charing Cross station collapsed and crushed the Avenue Theatre (now the Playhouse) beneath it. Six people were killed.
1905December 23rdThe Aldwych Theatre opened.
1906The London County Council bought part of Hainault Forest and opened it to the public.
1906A hostel for the homeless men was opened in Bruce House, Kemble Street by the London County Council. It soon attracted the derisory title ofThe Poor Man’s Carlton.
1906February 24thSingle-deck tramcars began to run through the Kingsway tunnel
1906March 10thThe Bakerloo line opened.
1906April\london’s first coin-operated telephone box was installed at the Ludgate Circus Post Office.
1906May 24thThe Ritz Hotel in Piccadilly opened.
1906December 15thThe Piccadilly Line opened.
1907The British Medical Association opened its new Headquarters on the Strand. The building by Charles Holden has 18 nude figures by the young Jacob Epstein on the outside which caused outrage at the time. The building later became Rhodesia House.
1907The Queen’s Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue opened.
1907February 27thThe new Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey, on the site of Newgate prison, oipened.
1907June 8thThe first night of Lehar’sMerry Widow at Daly’s Theatre by Leicester Square caused a sensation and an outbreak of “waltz fever” in London.
1907June 22ndThe Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line opened.
1907July 1Edward VII opened the Union Jack Club in Waterloo Road.
1908The Franco-British Exhibiiton at the newly constructed White City in Shepherds Bush was held.
1908The Headquarters of the Rugby Football Union at Twickenham was opened. The site was developed by William Williams and became known asBilly Williams’s Cabbage Patch.
1908JanuaryWhat was probably the first Boy Scout troop was formed in Hampstead.
1908June 12thThe rotherhithe Tunnel was opened.
1908JulyThe 4th modern Olympic Games were held at White City.
1909The Port of London Authority was established.
1909The remains of Crosby Place in Bishopsgate were moved to the junction of the Embankment and Danvers Street in Chelsea. Homas More had owned the mansion and the new site was in the gounds of his Chelsea House.
1909The Hampstead Astronomical and General Scientific Society opened its (still existing) observatory near Whitestone Pond.
1909Hogarth’s House in Chiswick was opened as a museum.
1909March 15thGordon Selfridge opened his department store in Oxford Street.
1909June 26thThe Victoria and Albert Museum was opened by Edward VII.
1909December 20thThe Harding and Hobbs department store in Clapham was destroyed by fire.
The Second Decade: 1910-1919

Kitchener’s famous recruitment poster

1910Sir Aston Webb’s Admiralty Arch opening onto the Mall was completed.
1910Paul’s Crossmin St Paul’s Churchyard was re-erected under the will of H C Richards.
1910Excavations for the foundations of County Hall on the south bank uncovered a Roman boat in the Thames mud.
1910The first Post-Impressionist Exhibition opened at the Grafton Gallery. Paintings by Matisse, Gauguin, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Seurat and Picasso went on display for the first time.
1910The cinema arrived with the construction of the (still existing) Ritzy in Brixton, the Electric Cinema in Portobello Road and the Electric Pavilion in Holloway Road.
1910The Windmill Theatre in Soho opened as a cinema called thePalais de Luxe.
1910The London Palladium in Argyll Street opened as a Music Hall.
1910February 1stDr Hawley Harvey Crippen murdered his wife Belle Ellmore at their house in Islington.
1910April 10thAnna Pavlova made her London debut at the Palace Theatre and was an immediate success.
1910AprilTchaikovsky’s Swan Lake had its first London performance at the London Hippodrome.
1910May 6thDeath of Edward VII and accession of George V
1910December 5thThomas Brock’s statue of Henry Irving was unveiled outside the National Portrait Gallery.
1911London’s first aerodrome, at Hendon, become operational
1911The population of Greater London was estimated at 7,252,000
1911The “Pearly King” Association was formed
1911The Prince’s Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue opened as a house for melodrama. It is now called the Shaftesbury
1911The Radium (later the Paris Pullman) cinema in Drayton Gardens, the Screen on the Green, Islington, the Cinematograph Theatre in Charing Cross Road and the Frognal Bijou Picture Palace in Hampstead all opened this year.
1911January 3rdThe Sidney Street Siege left one policeman, one fireman and two anarchists dead.
1911May 16thThomas Brock’s statue of Queen Victoria outside Buckingham Palace was unveiled.
1911October 30thThe New Middlesex Theatre of Varieties (later the Winter Garden) in Drury Lane opened.
1911November 9thThe Victoria Palace Theatre opened as a variety hall on the site of the Royal Standard Music Hall.
1911November 13thThe ill-fated London Opera House in Portugal Street was opened by Oscar Hammerstein.
1912The Central Line was extended from Bank to Liverpool Street.
1912Lyon’s Corner House on the Strand was opened.
1912The Pearl Assurance building on High Holborn was opened.
1912Bertorelli’s Restaurant in Charlotte Street opened.
1912March 1stSuffragettes went on a window smashing spree. Emmeline Pankhurst was jailed for nine months as a result.
1912April 8thThe London Museum opened at Kensington Palace. In 1975 it was amalgamated with the Guildhall Museum to form the Museum of London.
1912August 29thAfter a huge procession from the Embankment, William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, was buried in Abney Park Cemetery with “full military honours”.
1913The Ionic Theatre was opened as a cinema. Anna Pavlova, who lived in the area, performed the opening ceremony.
1913The Rialto cinema in Coventry Street opened. The restaurant beneath later became the Café de Paris nightclub.
1913The east front of Buckingham Palace was completed by Sir Aston Webb who received his knighthood in front of it.
1913JanuaryThe Poetry Bookshop in Boswell Street opened.
1913January 1stTaxi drivers went on strike to protest about the cost of petrol. They did not return to work until March 19th when they agreed to pay eightpence a gallon.
1913February 20thSuffragettes set fire to the Kew Tea Pavilion.
1913March 2ndSuffragettes were attacked by the crowd at Hyde Park.
1913April 3rdSuffragette Emmeline Pankhurst was imprisoned in Holloway for inciting persons to place explosives outside the country house of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George.
1913MaySuffragettes attempted to set fire to the Royal Academy.
1913May 4thThe Royal Horticultural Society held its annual exhibition of flowers in the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital for the first time.
1913May 6thThe Women’s Suffrage Bill was lost in Parliament and an unexploded bomb was found in St Paul’s Cathedral.
1913May 22ndA band of suffragettes attempted to storm Buckingham Palace.
1913May 26Britains’s first Woman Magistrate, Miss Emily Duncan, was appointed at West Ham.
1913June 4thThe Suffragette Emily Davidson was killed when she ran under the king’s horse at the Epsom Derby.
1913June 5thThe Ambassador’s Theatre in West Street WC2 opened.
1913July 4The Bedford College for Women in Regents Park opened
1913July 8thThe Bloomsbury Group opened the Omega Workshops for the manufacture of everyday items in Post-Impressionist designs.
1913December 15thThere was a dynamite explosion at Holloway Prison where suffragettes, including Emmeline Pankhurst, were kept.
1913December 26thThe Hippodrome at Golders Green was opened as a variety hall.
1914The King Edward VII Galleries at the British Museum were opened.
1914Dr Johnson’s House at 17 Gough Square was opened to the public.
1914The number of cinemas in the area controlled by the London County Council reached 266.
1914February 2ndWagner’s Parsifal had its first London Performance at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
1914March 1stA Suffragette bomb exploded at St John the Evangelist church in Westminster.
1914March 10thSuffragette Mary Richardson badly damaged the Velazquez Rokeby Venus at the National Gallery.
1914March 19thThe Times Literary Supplement was published separately for the first time. It had previously been part of the the newspaper.
1914April 2ndThe actor Alec Guinness was born in London.
1914April 5thA Suffragette bomb exploded at the church of St Martin in the Fields.
1914April 9thThe world’s first full-length film The World, the Flesh and the Devil premiered at the Holborn Empire.
1914April 11thGeorge Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion Premiered at His Majesty’s Theatre, Haymarket.
1914May 4thThe House of Lords rejected the Women’s Enfranchisement Bill.
1914May 12thSuffragettes defaced a portrait of Wellington at the Royal Academy.
1914June 11thA Suffragette bomb exploded at Westminster Abbey.
1914June 14thA Suffragette bomb exploded at St George’s Hanover Square.
1914April 2ndThe Geffrye Museum of furniture opened in Kingsland Road in a set of 14 almshouses originally built by the Ironmonger’s Company in 1715.
1914August 4thWar on Germany was declared.
1915May 7thFollowing the sinking of the Lusitania, anti-German riots broke out across London and many shops owned by people with German-sounding names were attacked.
1915May 31stA Zeppelin dropped 90 incendiary and explosive bombs on east London killing five and injuring thirty-five people.
1915July 19thKitchener personally began his recruitment campaign at the Guildhall.
1915September 7thZeppelin raids kill sixteen people in south London.
1915September 8thThe first bomb to fall on the City of London hit Fenchurch Street. A Zeppelin was chased all over London by British aeroplanes.
1915September 8thZeppelin raids kill sixteen people in east London.
1915September 14thA grand assembly at the Guildhall launches a new conscription drive.
1916August 31stThe musical Chu Chin Chow had the first of its record 2,238 performances at His Majesty’s Theatre Haymarket. It was popular with soldiers on leave from the front.
1916September 3rdThe pilot William Robinson chased an airship across London and shot it down over Enfield killing irs crew. He was awarded the VC but was himself shot down in April 1917.
1916December 7thLloyd George became Prime Minister and formed a coalition government.
1917January 19thAn explosion at the munitions factory at Silvertown killed seventy-three and injured ninety-four people. It has never been explained.
1917June 14thGotha Aeroplanes replaced the Zeppelins. The first aeroplane raid killed sixteen children when a random bomb destroyed an infant school in Poplar.
1918June 19thThe Royal Family formally renounced all of its German titles.
1917July 7thAircraft raids caused substantial damage in central London and killed five people in Bartholomew Close and one man at the Midland Railway goods yard at St Pancras.
1917July 19thThe last Zeppelin raid on London hit the Swan and Edgar store at Piccadilly Circus.
1917September 24thA 110 pound (50 kg) bomb was dropped outside the Bedford Hotel in Southampton Row killing thirteen and injuring twenty-six people.
1917December 6thA massive aeroplane raid dropped bombs on Chelsea, Brixton, Battersea, Stepney, Whitechapel, Clerkenwell and Shoreditch.
1918The communist Club at 107 Charlotte Street was closed down as ite was considered subversive.
1918February 6thThe Representation of the People Act became law. It granted the vote to women over the age of thirty.
1918May 19thThe last bombing raid over London.
1918November 11thArmistice Day was celebrated on the streets of London.
July 30thThe Duke of Bedford completed the sale (interrupted by the war) of the Covent Garden estate to the Beecham family.
1918December 14thThe Wartime Coalition Government was re-elected with a massive majority. In this election British women voted for the first time.
1919The Hammersmith Palais – “the most famous night spot in the world” – was opened in Shepherds Bush Road.
1919November 11thThe first two minutes of silence in memory of the victims of the war was held.
The Twenties: 1920-1929

The Spirit of St Louis was greeted by huge crowds at Croydon Airport in 1927

1920The Tavistock Clinic for psychotherapy was founded.
1920March 29thCroydon Aerodrome became London’s main civil airport. It was the first major civil airport in the world.
1921April 30thConscription was abolished.
1920MayThe Metropolitan water board opened its new Headquarters in Rosebery Avenue.
1920June 5thA revival of The Beggar’s Opera began its record- breaking run of 1,463 performances at the Lyric, Hammersmith.
1921August 1stThe British Communist Party was founded.
1920September 15thThe Everyman Theatre in Hampstead was opened.
1920November 11thThe Cenothaph, in Whitehall, was unveiled.
1920November 11thThe unknown soldier was buried at Westminster Abbey.
1921The last horse-drawn fire engine operated in London.
1921The Stopes’ opened their controversial birth control clinic in Marlborough Road.
1921March 31stThe coal miners began a national strike that ended in humiliation on July 1st.
1921July 8thThe George V Dock, the last to be built in central London, was opened by George V.
1921DecemberThe Football Association banned women’s matches from taking place in grounds under their control.
1922What was to become the most elegant high-street bank in London opened this year as a show room for Wolseley Motors at 160 Piccadilly. The unique Japanese and lacquered features were retained when it was converted into a bank in 1926.
1922The new Port of London Authority building (delayed by the war) was opened on Trinity Square.
1922The first Queen Charlotte Ball for Debutantes was held this year.
1922The wide-legged trousers known as Oxford Bags became the rage for men of fashion.
1922January 22ndWalton’s Facade had its first (private) performance at the Sitwell’s house in Carlyle Square Chelsea. The composer conducted his music and Edith Sitwell recited her poetry.
1922March 21stThe present Waterloo Station was opened by Queen Mary. Its construction had been delayed by the war.
1922June 22ndField Marshal Henry Wilson, who advocated he re-conquest of Ireland, was murdered by two Irishmen
1922July 17thCounty Hall, headquarters of the London County Council on the South Bank, was formally and partly opened
1922November 14thThe British Broadcasting Company (later the British Broadcasting Corporation) made its first regular broadcast.
1923April 26thThe Duke of York (later George VI) married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.
1923May 29thThe first Football Association Cup Final was held at Wembley Stadium. The crowd was far larger than the stadium’s capacity and the event was a near disaster.
1923June 8thThe law allowing wives to divorce their husbands on the grounds of adultry came into force.
1923June 12thEdith Sitwell staged the first performance of Walton’s Facade at the Aeolian Hall. Hidden behind a curtain, she chanted her poetry through a megaphone.
1923July 5thFrench tennis star Suzanne Lenglen became the first woman to win the Wimbledon Ladies Championship for the fifth time running.
1923December 13thLord Alfred Douglas, one-time lover of Oscar Wilde, was jailed for libelling Churchill.
1923December 31stSt Saviour’s Church for the Deaf and Blind held its last service at 419 Oxford Street before moving to Acton.
1924The new road from London to Southend-on-sea was opened by Prince Henry this year.
1924Charles Dickens’ house in Doughty Street was purchased by the Dickens Fellowship.
1924E M Forster’s A Passage to India was published.
1924The first Woolworth Store in Central London opened at 311 Oxford Street.
1924MarchBitain’s first national airline, Imperial Airways, began operating out of Croydon.
1924March 26thGeorge Bernard Shaw’s St Joan with Sybil Thorndike in the title role, premiered at the New Theatre.
1924April 23rdThe British Empire Exhibition at Wembley was opened and became a huge popular success.
1924November 8thThe Fortune Theatre in Russell Street opened. It was the first theatre to be built in the West End after the war.
1924December 10thMorely College moved from its cramped rooms at the back of the Old Vic to its new building in Westminster Bridge Road. The building was destroyed in the Second World War.
1925John Keats’ house in Hampstead was opened as a museum.
1925Greenwich Council acquired the Jacobean Mansion, Charlton House.
1925Construction of the present Fortnum and Mason shop on Piccadilly ws begun this year.
1925Liberty’s with its limited frontage on Regent Street was rebuilt in a semi-Tudor Style.
1925The Foundling Hospital closed and moved the children to the healthier countryside. Most of the site became the Harmsworth Memorial Playground and the hospital built a new headquarters on the remaining quarter.
1925The Great West Road (the A4) was opened by George V.
1925The Ironmongers opened their new Livery Hall off Aldersgate Street to replace that destroyed in the war.
1925February 23rdThe grounds of Kenwood House in Highgate were saved for the public from the developers. Edward Cecil Guinness, 1st Lord Iveagh, bought the house and made it clear that he would leave it as a bequest to the nation.
1925April 6thThe scheduled Imperial Airways flight from Croydon to Paris became the first to shoe an in-flight motion picture film to its passengers. The film was First National/s production of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World.
1926The Plaza Cinema in Lower rfegent Street opened this year.
1926Aldridge’s Horse Repository in Upper St Martin’s Lane held its last horse sale.
1926Traffic congestion caused by motor cars was beginning to become a problem and the first roundabout system was introduce this year, in Piccadilly Circus.
1926January 5thThe Post Office began issuing Widow’s Pensions for the first time.
1926January 27thJohn Logie Baird demonstrated television to an informal group from the Royal Institution at 22 Frith Street in Soho.
1926May 1stThe Miners begin The General Strike.
1926May 21stGunnersby Park on the Ealing-Acton border was opened to the public.
1927June 23rdGeorge V and Queen Mary formally the newly reconstructed Regent Street.
1927The Post Office finally completed its miniature, driver-less, fully automated underground railway system to carry mail between the principal sorting offices.
1927May 29thAn enormous crowd converged on Croydon Airport to greet the arrival of Charles Lindbergh after his solo trans-atlantic flight.
1927Colonel Frederick Lucas and his wife opened the first car park opposite White City in Wood Lane. Their company later became National car Parks with sites all over London.
1927April 20thThe Arts Theatre Club opened in its new building in Great Newport Street.
1927JanuaryThe Theatre Club Play-Room Six opened on the upper floors at 6 New Compton Street in Soho. It changed its name to the Player’s Theatre two years later when it moved to the Ground Floor.
1927April 27thThe Carlton Theatre in Haymarket opened with a musical but was converted to a cinema two years later.
1927The Astoria Cinema opened in the shell of the old Crosse and Blackwell Building in Charing Cross Road.
1927FebruaryThe last dramatic performance took place at the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square. It was then demolished and the present Empire Cinema was constructed on the site.
1927June 20thGreyhound racing made its first London appearance at White City. A second stadium, at Haringay, was opened later in the year.
1929The London and North eastern Railway introduced the Flying Scotsman non-stop service between London and Edinburgh.
1928The London County Council built the Ossulston Estate in Somerstown. It was the first example of local-authority high-rise and has strong Viennese influences.
1928The Firestone Factory, in spectacular Egyptian style, was built on the Great West Road at Hounslow. It was wantonly and deliberately destroyed by the Trafalgar House Company in 1980 just as English Heritage were about to List it.
1928Palladium House at 1 Argyll Street with its spectacular black granite and floral motifs was built this year.
1928The Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane was built this year. The colonnaded front is by Lutyens and it was the only London Hotel to contain a swimming pool and an ice rink (added in 1929).
1928Chiswick House, the mansion designed and built by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, was acquired for the public by Middlesex County Council.
1928Valence House, a late 16th century timber-framed house and the only mansion of any importance left in Dagenham, was bought by the local Council. It is now a local-history centre and museum.
1928The Embassy Theatre at Swiss Cottage opened this year.
1928April 27thThe Piccadilly Theatre opened and was almost immediately taken over for Talkies.
1928May 2ndThe new passenger terminal buildings were opened at Croydon airport.
1929May 7thParliament reduced the voting age for women from 30 to 21.
1928Sepember 15thPenicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington.
1928NovemberThe Carreras Tobacco Factory (The Black Cat Factory) in Mornington Cresecent with its Egyptian style was completed.
1928December 10thThe Underground concourse at Piccadilly Circus tube station, designed by Charles Holden, was completed.
1929Tower Pier on the north bank of the Thames opened this year.
1929Marie Rambert established the Russian School of Dancing at the Mercury Theatre in Ladbroke Road.
1929May 31stThe Local Government Act abolished Workhouses and the last meetings of the Poor Law Guardians took place. Under the Act, the London County council also tokk over responsibility for schools and hospitals.
1929JulyNoel Coward’s Bitter Sweet opened at His Majesty’s, Haymarket and was an instant success.
1929SeptemberThe Conway Hall in Red Lion Square opened. It is the headquarters of the South Place Ethical Society.
1929October 28thThere were sharp falls on the London Stock Market after the Wall Street Crash on the 24th.
1929November 25thThe Duchess Theatre in Catherine Street opened
1929October 3rdThe Dominion Theatre on Tottenham Court Road opened.
1929November 10thAt the Royal Albert Hall, Yehudi Menuhin, aged 13, gave his first public violin performance

1930-1959 >>>>>