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The name formed from the hamlet’s name Charing and Cross that refers to the medieval Eleanor Cross that stood in the middle of this Central London area. These crosses are monuments that commemorated King Edward I’s wife, Eleanor of Castile. They were built in the 13th century. The local Eleanor Cross was demolished in 1647. It stood near the entrance to the Royal Mews. Charing Cross marks the center of London. It’s the origin point for all London distances. The name Charing derives from the Anglo-Saxon “cierring” that refers to a bend in the River Thames. Cherryngescrouche and Charyngcrouche are variants of the Charing Cross name.
The local railway station, tube station, hospital, police station, and several other buildings of this WC2 area borrow the name Charing Cross. The railway station was built in 1864. It is a central railway terminus. In the 19th century, the station was London’s main terminus. The station was rebuilt after it took massive damage in 1905 from an engineering accident. The station was modernized in 1974. In 1983, the first system for electronic ticket printing was installed here. The station appears in several Sherlock Holmes stories. The 1998 A Conversation With Oscar Wilde statue can be found opposite the station.
The famous equestrian statue of Charles I replaced the Eleanor Cross. It was built in 1675 by French sculptor Hubert Le Sueur. The decisive battle of Wyatt’s Rebellion was fought at the Charing Cross. Armies of rebels led by Thomas Wyatt attempted to seize the throne from Queen Mary I of England. They were defeated by the Tower Garrison. The Chapel and Hospital of St Mary Rounceval were established in Charing Cross in the 13th century in an Augustinian house. In the 14th century, the house and surrounding lands were seized in the name of the king. In the 16th century, the chapel was transformed into a private residence.