York Watergate bears evidence to the estate of York House, the London residence of the Bishop of York that stretched 400 metres from the river front north to Strand. In 1870 Sir Joseph Bazalgette’s Victoria embankment reclaimed around 100 metres of land along a two-mile stretch of the Thames, leaving the watergate marooned in what is now Victoria Embankment Gardens. The house was originally a royal property of Henry VIII before Mary I gave it to the Bishop of York. James I then gave the property to his favourite George Villiers (later 1st Duke of Buckingham) who continued to please James’s son Charles I. Flying too close to the sun, Buckingham was murdered in 1628, and his widow occupied the estate until Cromwell’s boss General Fairfax took up residence (after the British Civil Wars) throughout the 1650s. At the restoration in 1660, Buckingham’s son (the 2nd Duke) was granted residence (also owing to his convenient marriage to Fairfax’s daughter). When the 2nd Duke was forced to sell the estate to the developer Nicholas Barbon, he stipulated that he should be remembered by a street name for each of his names; ‘George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham’. And so today, we find this history in the locality shown below.
After seeing this sight, consider these tour experiences: