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