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London Monopoly Board: 75 Years On

Written by on 26th January 2011
Category: City guides

Monopoly has been entertaining the nation now for 75 years and many consider it to be a British institution. A recent Guardian article took a trip down memory lane, as journalist Michael Hann and London historian Jerry White visited whichever locations the dice landed on to see how these famous places have stood the test of time. Doing so provided insights into how London as a whole – and the wider world – has changed in the last three quarters of a century.

The earliest form of Monopoly was invented in 1903 by a Quaker woman called Elizabeth Magie and it developed over the next few decades into the board game we know today. The game was brought to the UK in 1936 by Waddingtons, becoming the first version outside of the US.

The General Manager of Waddingtons, Victor Watson, travelled to London with his secretary to find the equivalent London streets and areas for the game and picked them all in a day. He arranged them geographically and by price, banded them into sets of 2 or 3 and assigned a colour to each set. All of the locations, with the exception of Angel, Islington which despite being an area was named after a pub Watson used to toast the completion of the Monopoly board, still exist today; SilverDoor have apartments in or around all of these now famous areas.

Some areas remain largely unchanged. Pall Mall is largely owned by the Crown Estate and is still home to many of London’s most famous members’ clubs. At SilverDoor we have several apartments in the neighbourhood and Club Quarters is a favourite among our most discerning clients.

Further round the Monopoly board is Marlborough Street. The architecture largely remains the same, as most of the buildings are Victorian; however, it’s now mainly a commercial street and its most famous contemporary resident is now probably Liberty, a traditional department store. Sony Playstation and London Studios have their headquarters in Marlborough Street and there is therefore considerable demand for serviced apartments there. Nearby Rosemoor or The Draycott range of apartments are just a few minutes away from Marlborough Street, and are also just a stone’s throw from South Kensington and Sloane Square.

If you are unlucky enough to miss Free Parking, the next set on the London Monopoly board is the reds. Trafalgar Square, The Strand and Fleet Street occupy these positions. The Strand runs between the other two streets and together, they house some of London’s great landmarks, including Nelson’s Column, Somerset House and The Royal Courts of Justice.

Next you move dangerously close to the Go to Jail square but just beforehand lie the yellow squares of Leicester Square, Coventry Street and Piccadilly. Floral Street Apartments are located just off the bustling Covent Garden and are just a short walk from the Trocadero centre and the area known as ’theatreland’. Now, as in the 1930s, this is a thriving entertainment area.

The final set and perhaps the most famous comprises the dark blues of Park Lane and Mayfair. In the 1930s, Park Lane was particularly fashionable as part of the road was on the eastern boundary of Hyde Park. During the 1960s the road was widened and is now a busy dual carriageway, but the area remains popular and is still home to some of the best accommodation in London, such as Brick Street serviced apartments. To the east is Mayfair which contains many streets such as Saville Row, Bond Street and Berkeley Square. Mayfair has long been one of the most exclusive areas in London and this has only increased since it became the most expensive property on the Monopoly board. Hertfords Apartments are in Mayfair and are in keeping with the style any serious Monopoly player would expect.

Whatever your favourite colour on the Monopoly board, check out our range of London serviced apartments for the ideal property solution for your next business trip!