Named as a compliment to Queen Adelaide in the reign of whose husband, William IV, the west strand improvements were carried out. Its chief distinction is Maggi Hambling’s memorial to Oscar Wilde, the first to be erected in London.

Unveiled in 1998, it shows Wilde rising from the dead with a bronze head and arm emerging from a low granite sarcophagus. A languid hand waves a lit cigarette and the words on the poet’s lips may well be those of the inscription: ‘We are all living in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.’

Just behind St Martin-in-the-Fields and Trafalgar Square, the street and the memorial are popular mustering points for demonstrators.

Excerpted from The London Encyclopaedia by kind permission of the Publishers, Pan MacMillan.

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