Charing Cross is situated at the busy intersection of the Strand and Whitehall, just south of Trafalgar Square. The name derives from the Old English cerring (“a bend in the road” or “a turn”) and refers either to the nearby great bend in the River Thames or to a bend in the Roman road that ran west from London. There Edward I (1239-1307) erected the last of the series of 12 crosses in memory of Queen Eleanor that marked stages of the funeral procession to Westminster Abbey. The cross was destroyed in 1647, during the English Civil Wars, but a replica was placed in 1863. After the restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, several executions were carried out on the spot where the old cross stood; the site is now marked by an equestrian statue of Charles I. “84 Charing Cross Road” is a 1970 book by Helene Hanff, later made into a stage play and film, about the twenty-year correspondence between herself and a antiquarian booksellers located at this address.
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