5 Whichcote Street | The Lonely House in Waterloo

If you’ve used Waterloo Station, you might’ve admired this lonely house.

Number 5 is the sole survivor of Whichcote Street, once a bustling terrace that was demolished in 1950.

History of Whichcote Street

In the early 19th century three streets of stock brick, terraced houses were laid out and named Anne Street, Agnes Street and Frances Street.

You can see them on the C and J Greenwood Map of 1828, before Waterloo Station was built.

Image from www.layersoflondon.org

In the more detailed and numbered Goad map of 1887 I’ve highlighted number 5.

Image from www.layersoflondon.org

According the the Charles Booth maps which colour-coded the levels of poverty within London, this collection of terraces were a mixture of ‘well-to-do’ and ‘comfortable.’

Image from www.layersoflondon.org

By the early 20th century the names had changed and Anne Street was Boyce Street, Agnes Street Whichcote Street and Frances Street became Buckley Street. I presume that the names were taken from senior military leaders in the 1815 Battle of Waterloo.

On the bomb damage map below you can see that aside from one black (“total destruction”) patch, the majority of damage was actually classified as “minor in nature”.

Image from www.layersoflondon.org

Despite this, the London County Council started the demolition process and you can compare the image below from 1951:

With the an image from google street view from 2008:

Today it’s quite hard to find images that give an accurate reflection of Whichcote Street when it was a complete terrace.

The Battle for Waterloo Road

Following the Blitz of 1940-41, the British writer Diana Forbes-Robertson and Hungarian photographer Robert Capa were commissioned by Random House to capture the aftermath and community spirit.

The resulting book is the “Battle for Waterloo Road” which doesn’t seem to be in print given copies sell for £100s online. There’s one very evocative photo looking back towards the railway arch and station here and you can have a look at some preview images of the book online here.

Here’s another photo from 1950 showing 5 Whichcote Street. It was given a Grade II listing in 1981, partly thanks to its “prominent island position”.

5 Whichcote Street Today

Today No.5 Whichcote Street is more isolated than ever.

During the 1980s it was next to a shop and barbers (as seen in this picture) but they were demolished in favour of a huge cylindrical air vent for the Jubilee line extension in 1990s.

The house is a private residence, owned by the landlord of the Hole in the Wall.

The pub’s entrance is on Mepham Street and it’s fairly bleak surroundings mean the pleasant, cosy atmosphere inside is a welcome surprise.

While I was taking pictures outside I actually started chatting to the present occupant, Erika who kindly answered some of my questions. Erika runs a crochet business, The Yarn Sorority. She’s lived here for four years and confessed the trains are a bit noisy.

So do admire this survivor the next time you’re in Waterloo and it seems only polite to pop into the Hole in the Wall too!

Related Blog

The story of 5 Whichcote Street reminded me of another survivor a short walk away on Hopton Street. You can read the history here.

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  • Jason Nathan


    What a brilliant post, Katie!

    September 13, 2023 at 6:47 am
  • Amdok


    I’ve been around that Waterloo roundabout many times on foot and in a vehicle but never noticed it. Thanks for pointing it out and I’ll look out for it next time.
    Another similar house I have noticed many times, as it used to be my route to work, is the one in Waldram Place in Forest Hill, next to the South Circular Rd. Often thought if you have a problem getting on with neighbours this is the house for you!

    September 13, 2023 at 7:37 am
  • Dave Timoney


    I notice that in 1828, on the C & J Greenwood map, Roupell Street was called Navarino Street. Presumably this was in honour of the Battle of Navarino in 1827 (an event in the Greek War of Independence). That suggests a remarkably prompt and temporary renaming given that the terrace was built in the mid-1820s by John Roupell and later carried his name, from as early as 1832 according to one map (https://www.southwark.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/maps-of-southwark/old-map-downloads?chapter=11)

    September 13, 2023 at 10:08 am
  • Vivien Birch


    Thanks for researching and writing about this odd survivor – I can only think that the owner at the time properties were being selected for demolition was not going to be moved. I have often wondered about it as I walked past on my way from the Union Jack Club.

    September 13, 2023 at 11:56 am
  • Gareth Morrell


    I’m glad to hear The Hole In The Wall is still in business. It was a favourite pit stop in my (late) teen years – and we’re talking the early 1970s!

    September 13, 2023 at 2:39 pm
  • Val


    When waiting for a bus we have always looked at the house and wondered about it and the history. Thank you for the information it was very interesting.

    September 13, 2023 at 8:57 pm
  • Gary Curtis


    What a plucky little survivor. I feel sad the rest of the terrace has gone because it looks quite bleak now.

    September 14, 2023 at 4:34 pm
  • lynda hiscoke


    I want to give it a hug!

    September 16, 2023 at 9:08 pm
  • Stephen Kettell


    Must have passed this hundreds of times with out giving it a thought – thanks

    September 22, 2023 at 11:31 am
  • Jan Donaldson


    I’m curious about the buildings on Asylum Rd, Peckham. Looks like almshouses, but was it actually an asylum?

    September 23, 2023 at 11:46 am

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