london’s least used roads #3 – the whitehall triangle

royal-tank-regiment

royal tank regiment memorial

Don’t say I don’t try to give you a bit of value for money.  Not content with giving you 2 roads in my last “least used roads” edition, I’ve upped the anti and provided you with 5 roads this time.  AND, look up there at the top of this post, an interactive Google Map of the area I’m talking about.  How good is that?  Only problem is the big “Whitehall Court” marker coming up in the middle of it which makes the map go slightly off centre.  I’m sure you guys are more than capable of moving the map around yourselves, you could even say that this post is “user definable” if I knew what that meant.  And, no, it isn’t really a triangle as such, more a slightly mis-shapen pentagon.  Someone will tell me the correct term I’m sure.

whitehall-place

whitehall place - mind the crowds

Enough basking in the glow of my marvelous technological achievement and time to get to the nitty gritty.  Here we are in the absolute heart of London, just yards from Charing Cross, the epicentre of the city.  And yet these roads are almost completely forgotten about and ignored, not helped by some baffling traffic restrictions that make getting to Whitehall Court itself rather difficult.  Great Scotland Yard, Scotland Place, Whitehall Place, Whitehall Court and Horseguards Avenue fill up the bit of land between Whitehall and the river where the once mighty Whitehall Palace stood.  As an aside, Banqueting House on the corner of Whitehall & Horseguards Avenue, is the only surviving building of the palace.  Built in 1622, it’s decoration was completed by Charles I, a little ironic as this is where he was beheaded.

whitehall-court

whitehall court, rush hour

But what do we find there now?  Massive governement buidlings are most prominent, although many of the ones around Scotland Place appear to be empty.  But there are things in these roads that people use, just seems that they don’t use them very often.  In Great Scotland Yard you have the Civil Service Club which advertises itself as a private members club but looks from the outside like it’s open to all.  Whitehall Place, on initial inspection seems to be a car park for buses and that’s it.  But look a bit harder and there is  The Savage Club at No. 1 and The National Liberal Club, both of which appear to be in the same building.  After a bit more digging, I found out that the Royal Horseguards Hotel (formerly Thistle, now Guoman) has taken over a bit of No1 as part of a recent refrubishment.  All very confusing.  But the Hotel is there in Whitehall Court with it’s confusingly named new restaurant One Twenty One Two, named after the old Scotland Yard phone number; Whitehall 1212.  Why it’s not called One Two One Two then I don’t know.  Last place of note in Whitehall Court is The Farmers Club, at No. 3, catering for the city needs of Farmers since 1842.  I’m sure all these places have regular visitors and are very busy, I just haven’t seen many people go there and taken fewer there in my cab.  The fact that you can only enter Whitehall Court from Whitehall Place and that Whitehall Place itself is only accessible from Great Scotland Yard or (heading south) from Whitehall can’t help things.  And then you’re at Horseguards Avenue, the 2 lane road that looks a lot more important than it really is.  Only useful if you are heading west or if Whitehall traffic going north is so bad you want to bail out and get to Victoria Embankment.

Amazing really, that so close to the heart of such a major city there are roads that are so deserted.  But they are, and here is my collection of photos to prove it.

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