Charing Cross is named after the Eleanor cross that stood on the site, in what was once the hamlet of Charing. The site of the cross has been occupied since 1675 by an equestrian statue of King Charles I. A loose Victorian replica of the medieval cross, the Queen Eleanor Memorial Cross, was erected a short distance to the east outside the railway station.
Until 1931, "Charing Cross" referred to the part of Whitehall between Great Scotland Yard and Trafalgar Square. At least one property retains a "Charing Cross" postal address: Drummonds Bank, on the corner of Whitehall and The Mall, which is designated "49 Charing Cross" (not to be confused with Charing Cross Road).
Since the early 19th century, Charing Cross has generally been accepted as the notional "centre of London" and is the point from which distances from London are calculated.
"Erect a rich and stately carved cross,
Whereon her statue shall with glory shine;