Jubilee Legacies: The Bits Of London Built And Named For Previous Jubilees

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 26 months ago

Last Updated 30 March 2022

Jubilee Legacies: The Bits Of London Built And Named For Previous Jubilees
The front of Buckingham Palace, with red flowers in the flower beds
Photo: Matt Brown

As the Queen's Platinum Jubilee approaches, we're looking back at her past jubilees (she's had a few of them in her time). A multitude of things in London are named for jubilees, although the Royal connection isn't often made — take a look:

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (Diamond Jubilee)

A footpath alongside a canal in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with the Orbit on the skyline ahead, and the London Stadium over to the right.
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2014. Photo: Matt Brown

2012, of course, saw the Olympics/Paralympics in London, but it was also the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year, marking 60 years on the throne. It was announced in October 2010 that the new park created for the Olympics would be named for the Queen. The royal celebrations were somewhat overshadowed, what with all the hoo-ha going on over in Stratford, although the Queen herself took part in the opening ceremony, with a surprise double act with James Bond.

Diamond Jubilee Window, Southwark Cathedral

A tall, thin single window. Background is mostly green or blue, with several larger shapes of different colours in the middle, and smaller colourful dots or 'gems' woven through it.
Photo: Southwark Cathedral

'Vivat Regina Defender Of The Faith Diamond Jubilee 2012' reads the dedication at the bottom of this stained glass window at Southwark Cathedral, 'Vivat Regina' translating as 'long live the Queen'. As is self-evident, the window was commissioned to mark the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, with the 60 individual dots representing sparkling jewels, one for each year of the Queen's reign at the time.

A commemorative window was also installed at the cathedral for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the great, great grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II, in 1897.

The 2012 Diamond Jubilee window can be found in the Retrochoir area in the south-east corner of the building (you can also see it from both the interior and exterior on Google Maps). Head down the steps from Borough High Street to the cathedral grounds, and it's the second individual window on your right. It's best viewed from within the cathedral, though — here are the details on visiting.

Golden Jubilee footbridges, Charing Cross

Looking across the river from South Bank, to the Hungerford Bridge towards Charing Cross station
Photo: Londonist

One of the most common routes for crossing the River Thames on foot these days is the pair of Golden Jubilee Bridges — also known as the Hungerford Footbridges — between Charing Cross and South Bank. So it's hard to imagine that 20 years ago, this selfie hotspot didn't exist.

There's been a river crossing in some form here since Isambard Kingdom Brunel's suspension footbridge opened in 1845, but this was soon replaced by a railway bridge. Various footbridges came and went over the years, but by the 1990s, foot traffic was funnelled down one single, narrow walkway, which wasn't considered all that safe or appealing. So new footbridges were designed, and opened in 2002, the Queen's Golden Jubilee year. Here's more on the history of the river span:

These days, the only nod to the regal associations with the bridge is a sign on one of the lifts, and a weather-worn information plaque halfway across:

A metal plaque engraved with information about the bridge and sketch of the skyline seen from the bridge
Photo: Londonist

Jubilee Gardens, South Bank (Golden and Silver Jubilees)

Looking across the grass, hedges and paving of Jubilee Gardens to the London Eye
Photo: Londonist

We think Jubilee Gardens is the only place in London (other than Parliament, but that's a different matter) which has been officially opened by the Queen twice.

The green area just behind the London Eye was first unveiled by Her Majesty on the occasion of her Silver Jubilee in 1977, and known as the Silver Jubilee Gardens — though at this point, it was a predominantly featureless area of grass.

A framed plaque commemorating the 2012 opening of Jubilee Gardens, with the London Eye in the background
Photo: Londonist

However, the gardens were damaged during construction of the Jubilee line extension from Green Park to Stratford in the 1990s. As the area became more popular with visitors, thanks to the opening of the London Eye in the new millennium, the gardens were given an overhaul. The Queen was back in 2012 to unveil the new Jubilee Gardens.

A wooden flagpole with a metal plaque reading '1977', inside a logo incorporating a crown and St Paul's
If you're thinking the logo looks familiar, read on. Photo: Londonist

The plaques from both royal unveilings can both be seen, alongside an information board with the park's history, in the corner of the park closest to the London Eye.

Within the vicinity of the park, a couple more jubilee installations are worth a mention.

A flag pole (pictured above) towers over the Queen's Walk between Jubilee Gardens and the river — a plaque wrapped around it just above head height dates it to 1977, below a logo which we'll come to in a minute. More noticeable to most is the Jubiloo, a public toilet block opened in 2012 to coincide with the reopening of Jubilee Gardens, though it was opened by then-local MP Kate Hoey, rather than the Queen herself.

Looking through a window into the Jubiloo block, with various portraits of the Queen on the walls
Photo taken from outside the Jubiloo block, because we're too tight to spend £1. And also, taking photos in public toilets can probably get you arrested.

Though the loos have attracted a bit of controversy by raising the cost of a visit from the original 50p to £1, for us, the most notable feature of these toilets is the regally themed artwork sprinkled liberally on the walls. Not sure we could go with Her Maj looking down a us, tbh.

Jubilee Walkway route (Silver Jubilee) and Jubilee Greenway (Golden Jubilee)

Round metal plaque embedded in the floor reading 'Jubilee Walkway' with the Jubilee Walkway crown logo
Photo: Londonist

Now, back to the logo on that flag pole in Jubilee Gardens. If you've seen it before, it's likely that you've spotted it embedded into the pavement on a ground marker like the one above. They're the sort of thing most Londoners see regularly without paying any real attention to.

There are two different types, marking the the route of the Jubilee Walkway (originally called the Silver Jubilee Walkway) and the Jubilee Greenway.

'The Queen's Walk' metal sign on a waist-height wall overlooking the river
Photo: Londonist

The Jubilee Walkway was a walking route established for the Silver Jubilee in 1977, at the same time that flag pole appeared. The 15-mile route consists of five different sections, and passes many of London's best-known landmarks, including the Tower of London, British Museum and Trafalgar Square — full route details are on the TfL website, and these large markers can be seen at a few places along the route.

For a particularly regal experience, walk the Jubilee Loop section of the walk, which passes the likes of St James's Park, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. The Queen's Walk on South Bank was created as part of the Jubilee Walkway too, though parts of it didn't open until much later — a large round stone plinth on the ground between OXO Tower and Gabriel's Wharf commemorates this.

A square plaque embedded in the pavement reading 'Jubilee Greenway'
Photo: Londonist

The Jubilee Greenway is a newer route, though the two do overlap in parts, along the South Bank. The Greenway was a Diamond Jubilee creation, although it also celebrates the London 2012 Olympics, linking the major Games sites on a 60km route. Again, TfL has the details.

A round Jubilee Walkway plaque and a square (upside down) Jubilee Greenway plaque, embedded in the pavement side by side
Markers for the two routes side by side (but in opposite directions) can be found on the Thames Path at the south eastern corner of Blackfriars Bridge

The Jubilee line (Silver Jubilee)

A tube train pulls away from Kilburn station
A Jubilee line train at Kilburn. Photo: Simon in Creative Commons

The really obvious jubilee legacy is the Jubilee line, London's silver tube line. It opened in 1979, so there's no obvious Royal connection, but it was named for the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977 (hence the colour). It was originally due to be called the Fleet line, until someone had the idea of honouring Her Majesty with it. 1977 was the original planned opening date, but, as is the way with these things, it was delayed by a couple of years — and the section east of Green Park was only added in the 1990s.

Queen Victoria's Jubilee stone, St Paul's Cathedral

Paving slabs engraved with the words 'Here Queen Victoria returned thanks to Almighty God for the sixtieth anniversary of her accession. June 22 AD. 1897'
Photo: Matt Brown

Queen Victoria was also known to mark significant anniversaries on the throne — albeit in a less-partying-more-praying manner. Her own Diamond Jubilee is marked by a paving stone outside St Paul's Cathedral, on the spot where the Thanksgiving service took place. Apparently she didn't get out of her carriage, so the service took place by the cathedral steps.

King George III's Golden Jubilee was celebrated in 1809, though we don't know of any physical legacies of the event which still exist today.