Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Previous section
Leisure and Pleasure

Covent Garden Today

In 1914 the Workhouse on Endell Street closed shortly before the outbreak of World War One as it was merged with the Holborn workhouse nearby. The hospital became the Endell Street Military Hospital in 1915 and was the only field hospital to be staffed purely by women in the war. 

By the time Booth was mapping the area in the 1890s, areas around Holborn and Lincoln’s Inn Fields were being cleared to get rid of the slums and to widen the Shaftesbury Avenue for traffic. The Brewery was about to be moved.

Some model housing developments were built but many people were just evicted. Booth was keen to record the plight of the families in the area before this happened.

See Supporting Links to access the Booth digital map to move from how the area looked in 1898/99 to a map today.

The London School of Economics moved into the area to the south of Lincoln’s Inn Fields in the early twentieth century.


Change and Regeneration

In 1974 the Covent Garden fruit and vegetable market moved to Vauxhall in south London. This meant the warehouses – once part of the Brewery – and main market (known as the Piazza) was left vacant. Much of the area around it was derelict through in the early 1970s. A housing project managed to acquire land around the Seven Dials in the late 70s and regenerated the area.


The main piazza was turned into a market under the Covent Garden Area Trust in 1986. The Covent Garden Theatre by this time was the Royal Opera House and was regenerated in the late 1990s. In 1980 the London Transport Museum opened in the former flower market building. See Supporting Links for more information.