High Street (or the High Street, also High Road) is a metonym for the concept (and frequently the street name) of the primary business street of towns or cities, especially in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth of Nations. To distinguish it from "centres" of nearby places it is frequently preceded unofficially by the name of its settlement. In a town it implies the focal point for business, especially shops and street stalls (if any) in town and city centres. As a generic shorthand presupposed upon linear settlements it may be used to denote more precise concepts such as the urban retail sector, town centre sectors of employment, all small shops and services outlets and even wider concepts taking in social concepts.[a]
The number of High Streets grew from the 17th-century and reached a peak in Victorian England. Since the 20th-century, the prosperity of High Streets has been in decline, forcing many shop closures and prompting the UK Government to consider initiatives to reinvigorate and preserve the High Street.
High Street is the most common street name in the UK, which according to a 2009 statistical compilation has 5,410 High Streets, 3,811 Station Roads and 2,702 Main Streets. The smallest High Street in Britain is located in the small market town of Holsworthy in Devon. The street itself is no more than 100 yards (100 m) long and consists of only three shops.
In Middle English the word "high" denoted a very meaning of excellence or superior rank ("high sheriff", "Lord High Chancellor", "high society"). "High" also applied to roads as they improved: "highway" was a new term taken up by the church and their vestries to during the 17th century as a term for all public roads between settlements. From the 19th-century, which saw a proliferation in the number of public roads (public highways), in countries using the term motorway, the term highway fell out of common speech and was supplanted by the legal definition, denoting any public road, as in the Highway Code. Thus the term "High Street" assumed a different meaning; that of a street where the most important shops and businesses were located.
In Britain, the term, 'High Street', has both a generic and a specific meaning. People refer to shopping on the high street when they mean the main retail precinct, but also refer to shopping on the High Street when they mean a specific street carrying the name of High Street or one of its variants. Many British colonies, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, adopted the term to refer to the main retail shopping precinct in a given city or town.
In Britain, some 3,000 streets called "High Street" and about 2,300 streets with variations on the name (such as Upper High Street, High Street West) have been identified, giving a grand total of approximately 5,300. Of these, more than 600 High Streets are located in London's boroughs.
Following the Great Fire of London (1666), the city of London was completely rebuilt. New planning laws, governing rebuilding, designated four types of street based on the size of their carriageways and the types of buildings. Shops were permitted in the principal street or 'high street', but not in the by-lanes or back streets. This may have been based on the need for high visibility in order to regulate retail trade, as well as to avoid congestion in the narrow lanes and back streets. Accordingly, from the 17th-century, the term "High Street" gradually assumed a narrower meaning and came to describe thoroughfares with significant retail in large villages and towns.
In the late 17th and 18th-centuries, the number of High Streets increased markedly. The 19th-century was a "golden era" for High Street shops. The rise of the middle class in Victorian England contributed to a more favourable attitude to shopping and consumption. Shopping centres became the places to see and be seen - places for recreational shopping and promenading. By the 20th century, however, the viability of high streets began to decline.
In the second half of the 20th-century, traditional British High Street precincts came under pressure from out-of-town shopping malls, with the balance shifting towards the latter. In the late 20th-century, bricks and mortar retailers confronted another major threat - from online retailers operating in a global marketplace. To confront this threat, High Street precincts have been forced to evolve - some have become smaller as shops shut their doors, others have become more like social spaces with a concentration of retail services including cafes, restaurants and entertainment venues while yet others have positioned themselves as more up-market shopping precincts with a preponderance of stores selling luxury branded goods.
In the United Kingdom geographic concentration of goods and services (including at industrial estates and out of town shopping centres) has reduced the share of the economy contributed to by workers in the high street. High street refers to only a part of commerce. The town centre in many British towns combines a group of outdoor shopping streets (one or more of which may be pedestrianised), with an adjacent indoor shopping centre.
High Streets through the centuries
Initiatives to preserve the traditional British High Street are evident. Research into the customer's shopping preferences and patterns reveals that the continued vitality of towns is predicated on a number of different variables. Research has highlighted the ongoing challenges faced by towns and cities and suggested that "[t]he town centre serves not only social, utilitarian or hedonic shopping purposes but also supports out-of-hours entertainment and leisure services. The way that consumers perceive and use town centres has also fundamentally changed." In order to address the issues threatening the sustainability of towns it is increasingly important to consider consumer behaviour and customer experience. This is in line with research that proposes that for high street retail to thrive in spite of the growth threat of eCommerce, the sensual hedonic experiences (e.g. scent, feel, etc.) need to be presented to visitors while allowing for discovery of hidden experiences in the built environment.
The House of Commons in 2006 established an All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group, which published a report titled High Street Britain 2015, warning against trends in high streets that were disadvantageous to small shops. The report warns that the increase in chain stores on high streets contributes to the formation of clone towns, a concept set out by geographical theorists, which "creat[es] a loss of sociability" compared to traditional shopping. Members of the working group generally agreed that: "The demise of the small shop would mean that people will not just be disadvantaged in their role as consumers but also as members of communities – the erosion of small shops is viewed as the erosion of the 'social glue' that binds communities together, entrenching social exclusion in the UK."
In 2011, business consultant, Mary Portas, best-known for the TV Series, Mary Queen of Shops, was commissioned by the UK government to provide an independent review of High Street shopping. The report provided evidence for the decline of High Street precincts such as data indicating that retail spending in High Street shops had fallen to below 50 per cent.Her final report set out a vision for High Streets and a number of recommendations. However, her plan has failed to stem the number of High Street store closures, leaving authorities in a quandary about how to proceed.
High Streets are less commonly seen in Ireland. Neither of Dublin's two main shopping streets (Grafton Street and Henry Street) carry this name, nor does its main thoroughfare (O'Connell Street). While Dublin has a High Street near Christchurch, it is not a shopping street. The city of Cork's main shopping street is St Patrick's Street. The city's oldest streets are named North Main Street and South Main Street. Limerick's principal thoroughfare, like Dublin, is also O'Connell Street (the name is used in a number of other Irish towns in honour of Daniel O'Connell).
Main Street is used in many smaller towns and villages. For example, the OSI North Leinster Town Maps book lists sixteen "Main Streets" and only two "High Streets" in its thirty-town index of street names. Similarly, the OSI Dublin Street Guide (covering all of Dublin City and County Dublin) lists twenty "Main Streets" and only two "High Streets". Killarney and Galway are two of the few large Irish towns in which the shopping streets are named High Street. Nonetheless, the term "high street" is often used in the Irish media to refer generically to shopping streets.
The term "High Street" is used to describe stores found on a typical high street to differentiate them from more specialised, exclusive and expensive outlets (often independent stores) — for example, "High Street banks" (instead of the less-common private or investment banks) or "High Street shops" (instead of boutiques).
The equivalent in the United States, sometimes in Canada and Ireland is Main Street, a term also used in smaller towns and villages in Scotland and Australia. In Jamaica, North East England and some sections of Canada and the United States, the main commercial district is Front Street (especially in cities located alongside a waterway). In Cornwall, some places in Devon and some places in the north of England, the equivalent is Fore Street; in some parts of the UK Market Street is also used, although sometimes this may be a different area where street markets are currently (or were historically) centred. In Canada, east of Lake Superior, King Street and Queen Street are often major streets; "rue Principale", as the literal French language equivalent of "Main Street" is frequently used in Quebec towns, and "a village where the main street is still Main Street" is a phrase that is used in respect for small towns. The Dutch equivalent is Hoogstraat, of which examples are found in cities such as Brussels, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Bruges, Rotterdam and many towns. In Germany, the equivalent is Hauptstraße (Main Street), though this can also refer to a road with a lot of traffic (i.e., a highway). In Cologne the Hohe Straße (literally, High Street) is the main shopping street, but was named after a gate at its southern end (the Hohe Pforte, or High Gate).
Media related to High streets at Wikimedia Commons
123 Mortlake High Street, also known as The Limes or Limes House and previously referred to as Mortlake Terrace, is a Grade II* listed 18th-century property in Mortlake in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. The house was built in about 1720 but the facade and porch were added later. The porch includes four Tuscan columns.The house's former residents include the Franks, a family of Jewish merchant bankers; Lady Byron, widow of the poet; the educational philanthropist Quintin Hogg; and Garnet Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley. The building was the seat of local government for the Municipal Borough of Barnes from 1895 until 1940, when it was damaged by wartime bombing.
The house's 7 acres (2.8 ha) of grounds have now been completely built over, and the building itself has been converted to commercial office space. The exterior is still similar to what it was in two oil paintings that J. M. W. Turner (1755–1851) made while visiting the house.Turner's two paintings were made for William Moffatt, whose house it then was. Mortlake Terrace: Early Summer Morning (1826) is in the Frick Collection, New York. It was shown in the Royal Academy exhibition of 1826 where it was praised for its "lightness and simplicity". Mortlake Terrace (1827) is in the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.The Museum of London holds a wood engraving of people at The Limes, as it was then called, watching the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. The Limes – Mortlake: 1872 is taken from London: A Pilgrimage by Blanchard Jerrold and Gustave Doré, 1872. Jerrold describes how "the towing paths presented to the view of the more fortunate people upon the private river-side terraces, a mixed population ..." The house was, at the time, the residence of a Mr Marsh Nelson.173, High Street, Berkhamsted
173, High Street, Berkhamsted, is a medieval building in Hertfordshire, England. It is considered to be the oldest extant jettied timber framed building in Great Britain, dated by dendrochronology of structural timbers to between 1277 and 1297. At the time of the building’s construction, the town of Berkhamsted was a relatively large, flourishing wool trading market town that benefitted from having an important royal castle.70 Barnes High Street
70 Barnes High Street, also known as the Rose House, is a Grade II listed house in Barnes, London SW13, which dates from the 17th century. It is now used by the Barnes Community Association as office accommodation.Bonifacio High Street
Bonifacio High Street is a mixed-use development in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines located just near Serendra, Market! Market! and SM Aura Premier. It is owned by Ayala Malls, a real-estate subsidiary of Ayala Land, which is an affiliate of Ayala Corporation. It opened in the 2007 High Street Central In 2012 And Central Square In 2014 and it is one of Ayala Corporation's flagship projects. The mall offers a mix of high-end retail shops, restaurants, amenities, leisure and entertainment in the Philippines. Currently, the mall has four sections, the first and second blocks are an open-air shopping, while the third block is a mixture of open-air and indoor commercial buildings dubbed as the “Bonifacio High Street Central” In 2012 “SSI Group” Based “Central Square” Plus With The State Of The Art Cinemas In 2014 the fourth block which was named Bonifacio High Street South or simply High Street South in which is a mixture of open-air and indoor commercial-residential buildings.Columbus, Ohio
Columbus ( kə-LUM-bəs) is the state capital of and the most populous city in the U.S. State of Ohio. With a population of 892,533 as of 2018 estimates, it is the 14th-most populous city in the United States and one of the fastest growing large cities in the nation. This makes Columbus the third-most populous state capital in the US (after Phoenix, Arizona and Austin, Texas) and the second-most populous city in the Midwest (after Chicago, Illinois). It is the core city of the Columbus, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses ten counties. With a population of 2,078,725, it is Ohio's second-largest metropolitan area.
Columbus is the county seat of Franklin County. The municipality has also annexed portions of adjoining Delaware, Pickaway and Fairfield counties. Named for explorer Christopher Columbus, the city was founded in 1812, at the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and assumed the functions of state capital in 1816.
The city has a diverse economy based on education, government, insurance, banking, defense, aviation, food, clothes, logistics, steel, energy, medical research, health care, hospitality, retail, and technology. Columbus Region is home to the Battelle Memorial Institute, the world's largest private research and development foundation; Chemical Abstracts Service, the world's largest clearinghouse of chemical information; NetJets, the world's largest fractional ownership jet aircraft fleet; and Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in the United States. As of 2018, the city has the headquarters of four corporations in the U.S. Fortune 500: American Electric Power, Cardinal Health, L Brands, Nationwide, and Big Lots, just out of the top 500.In 2016, Money Magazine ranked Columbus as one of "The 6 Best Big Cities", calling it the best in the Midwest, citing a highly educated workforce and excellent wage growth. In 2012, Columbus was ranked in BusinessWeek's 50 best cities in the United States. In 2013, Forbes gave Columbus an "A" grade as one of the top cities for business in the U.S., and later that year included the city on its list of Best Places for Business and Careers. Columbus was also ranked as the No. 1 up-and-coming tech city in the nation by Forbes in 2008, and the city was ranked a top-ten city by Relocate America in 2010. In 2007, fDi Magazine ranked the city no. 3 in the U.S. for cities of the future, and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was rated no. 1 in 2009 by USA Travel Guide.High Street Kensington tube station
High Street Kensington is a London Underground station at Kensington High Street. The station is on the Circle line between Gloucester Road and Notting Hill Gate, and the District line between Earl's Court and Notting Hill Gate. It is in Travelcard Zone 1. Kensington Arcade is the entrance to the station.High Street railway station, New South Wales
High Street railway station is located on the Main Northern line in New South Wales, Australia. It serves the High Street area of Maitland opening on 27 May 1856.High Street formerly had a wooden structure on the footbridge, however this was destroyed by fire in 1987 and replaced with a waiting shelter on the platform. Only the eastern half of the platform remains in use, with the western part fenced off.High Street tram stop
High Street was a tram stop on Greater Manchester's light rail Metrolink network, located in Manchester city centre, England. It was on the east side of High Street opposite Manchester Arndale, between Shudehill tram stop and Market Street tram stop.
The stop opened on 27 April 1992. Market Street (which opened the same day, and was just around the corner) and High Street Metrolink stops effectively formed a single station staggered across a road junction, with different stop names for each platform: southbound vehicles (going towards Piccadilly Gardens and St Peter's Square) stopped at the High Street stop, and northbound vehicles (going towards Victoria) stopped at Market Street.
Market Street was modified to handle traffic in both directions when the street was closed to traffic, and the High Street platform was demolished in 1998 after six years' service.Hoop and Grapes, Aldgate High Street
The Hoop and Grapes is a Grade II* listed public house at Aldgate High Street in the City of London.Historic England notes that it was probably built in the late 17th century, and that it is "a type of building once common in London but now very rare."Hounslow
Hounslow () is a metropolitan district and a large suburban town in west London, England. It is the administrative centre of the London Borough of Hounslow and is identified as a major metropolitan centre in the London Plan. It comprised the smaller areas of Hounslow West, Heston and Cranford, which includes London Heathrow Airport; North Hyde, Norwood Green, Harlington, Hatton and Whitton (north). It is about 10.7 miles (17.2 km) west-southwest of Charing Cross.
Historically part of Middlesex, since 1965 Hounslow has been part of the London Borough of Hounslow, with parts in the London Boroughs of Hillingdon, Richmond upon Thames, and Ealing. Prior to this, Hounslow was part of the Municipal Borough of Heston and Isleworth, from 1835 until 1965. Whitton was part of the Municipal Borough of Twickenham, while Cranford was part of the Hayes and Harlington Urban District and Feltham Urban District. Additionally, Norwood Green was part of the Municipal Borough of Southall.
Hounslow has a large shopping centre, called the Blenheim Centre, which adjoins its high street and a large number of restaurants, cafés and small businesses, many of which are associated with product assembly, marketing, telecommunications and Heathrow Airport. It is connected to Central London by South Western Railway's Hounslow Loop Line and Hounslow station, and by the London Underground's Piccadilly line through three stations - Hounslow West, Hounslow Central and Hounslow East. According to the 2011 census, the borough has a population of 254,000.Islington
Islington () is a district in Greater London, England, and part of the London Borough of Islington. It is a mainly residential district of Inner London, extending from Islington's High Street to Highbury Fields, encompassing the area around the busy High Street, Upper Street, Essex Road (former "Lower Street"), and Southgate Road to the east.Kensington
Kensington is an affluent district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in the West End of central London.
The district's commercial heart is Kensington High Street, running on an east-west axis. The north east is taken up by Kensington Gardens, containing the Albert Memorial, the Serpentine Gallery and Speke's monument. South Kensington is home to Imperial College London, the Royal College of Music and the Royal Albert Hall. The area is also home to many European embassies.Kensington High Street
Kensington High Street is the main shopping street in Kensington, London. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.Kensington High Street is the continuation of Kensington Road and part of the A315. It starts by the entrance to Kensington Palace and runs westward through central Kensington. Near Kensington (Olympia) station, where the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea ends and London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham begins, it ends and becomes Hammersmith Road. The street is served by High Street Kensington underground station.List of night buses in London
The London Night Bus network is a series of night bus routes that serve Greater London. Services broadly operate between the hours of 23:00 and 06:00.
Many services commence from or operate via Trafalgar Square and are extensions or variations of daytime routes and hence derive their number from these; for example, route N73 Oxford Circus to Walthamstow follows that of route 73 as far as Stoke Newington, before continuing further north.Newport railway station
Newport railway station (Welsh: Casnewydd) is the third-busiest station in Wales (after Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen Street), situated in Newport city centre. It is 133.5 miles (215 km) from London Paddington on the British railway network.
The station was originally opened in 1850 by the South Wales Railway Company and was greatly expanded in 1928. A new station building was built in 2010 with four full size platforms, to facilitate new Great Western Railway 10-car Intercity Express Programme trains.
The station is owned by Network Rail and managed by Transport for Wales. The main station entrance is located on Queensway, connected by Station Approach to the High Street, with a further entrance adjoined to the National Car Parks site at its rear, reached from Devon Place.Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is a succession of streets forming the main thoroughfare of the Old Town of the city of Edinburgh in Scotland. The term was first used descriptively in W M Gilbert's Edinburgh in the Nineteenth Century (1901), "...with its Castle and Palace and the royal mile between", and was further popularised as the title of a guidebook, published in 1920.From the Castle gates to the Palace gates the street is almost exactly a mile (1.6 km) long and runs downhill between two significant locations in the royal history of Scotland, namely Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, hence its name. The streets which make up the Royal Mile are (west to east) Castlehill, the Lawnmarket, the High Street, the Canongate and Abbey Strand. The Royal Mile is the busiest tourist street in the Old Town, rivalled only by Princes Street in the New Town.Shoreditch
Shoreditch is a district in the East End of London, which is divided between the London boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets. It is part of the traditional county of Middlesex, but for administrative purposes became part of the County of London following the passing of the Local Government Act 1888, and part of Greater London in 1965. It has been known as an entertainment quarter since the 16th century, and today hosts a number of pubs, nightclubs and bars; while to the east of Shoreditch High Street and north of Brick Lane are primarily residential.The area straddles Old Street, Shoreditch High Street and Brick Lane, and includes Shoreditch Church, Boxpark and Brick Lane Market. It lies immediately to the north and north east of the City of London and Spitalfields, and south and west of Bethnal Green. In 2005 the area along with neighbouring Haggerston suffered a terrorist attack on a London Buses route 26 bus in the 21 July 2005 London bombings on Hackney Road.Shoreditch High Street railway station
Shoreditch High Street is on the East London Line located on Bethnal Green Road in the Shoreditch area, in London, United Kingdom. It is served by the London Overground between Whitechapel and Hoxton with services running either to Dalston Junction, Highbury & Islington or New Cross, New Cross Gate, West Croydon, Crystal Palace, and is in Travelcard Zone 1.
The station officially opened to the public on 27 April 2010 and replaced nearby tube station Shoreditch, which was directly to the east and closed in 2006.Watford High Street railway station
Watford High Street is a railway station in Watford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. It is served by the Watford DC Line on the London Overground network. It is the only station on the line's sole deviation from the West Coast Main Line.