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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Streets, Squares, and Buildings

Skinners’ (Tonbridge) Estate

Estates in Bloomsbury

1 Duke of Bedford
2 City of London Corporation
3 Capper Mortimer
4 Fitzroy (Duke of Grafton)
5 Somers
6 Skinners' (Tonbridge)
7 Battle Bridge
8 Lucas
9 Harrison
10 Foundling Hospital
11 Rugby
12 Bedford Charity (Harpur)
13 Doughty
14 Gray's Inn
15 Bainbridge–Dyott (Rookeries)

Area between the Foundling and Harrison estates: Church land

Grey areas: fragmented ownership and haphazard development; already built up by 1800

About the Skinners’ (Tonbridge) Estate

This estate was also known as Sandhills, and was acquired by Sir Andrew Juddd in the seventeenth century, who vested it in the Skinners’ Company as Trustees for the benefit of the Tonbridge School in Kent (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

It comprised an area extending slightly north of what became Euston Road (around the modern St Pancras station), and south into Bloomsbury, extending slightly south and west of Burton Street, south of Leigh Street, and slightly west of Judd Street up to just south of Hastings Street, where it extended further east to just east of Tonbridge Street

Maps of the estate from 1785, before it was developed, and 1898, after development, appear in S. Rivington, History of Tonbridge School (2nd edn, 1898) and are reproduced in the Survey of London, vol. 24 (1952)

North of Euston Road building began before 1800, including Judd Place East and West; the part south of Euston Road remained mainly farmland until 1807, although it also had the buildings of Bowling Green House and access roads to this coffee house with its pleasure grounds (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

Development of the land was prompted partly by development on the neighbouring Foundling Estate to the south, some of which was apparently encroaching on the Skinners’ land; in 1807 the Skinners’ estate followed the Foundling Estate’s example and granted building leases to James Burton

See also S. Rivington, ‘Burton and the Sandhills Estate,’ The Builder, 30 May 1908

In the twentieth century the estate sold the freeholds of much of its Bloomsbury property, although retaining the pubs the Skinners Arms, the Euston Tavern on the corner of Euston Road and Judd Street, and the Dolphin on Tonbridge Street (Shirley Green, Who Owns London?, 1986)

Its Burton Street and Bidborough Street residential properties were let on long leases to Camden Borough Council, while “Cartwright Gardens…is the only street where the freeholds have stayed virtually intact. Several of them are let to London University on long leases and are used as university halls of residence; but most are let to private hotels on shorter and far more profitable leases” (Shirley Green, Who Owns London?, 1986)

Bidborough Street

(formerly less extensive)

Also known as Claremont Place/Clare Street

It is in the north-east of Bloomsbury, originally running from Mabledon Place to Judd Street; beyond this was Claremont Place

It was built from around 1807 when building leases were granted to James Burton (David Hayes, East of Bloomsbury, 1998)

It was named after Bidborough, a parish near Tonbridge, Kent

Horwood’s map of 1819 shows consecutive numbers from 1 to 18 on the south side, running from west to east, and consecutive numbers from 19 to 28 on the north side, running from east to west, with the livery stables between nos 26 and 27

It seems to have been occupied for most of the century by a mixture of local businesses and retailers, as well as some lower and middle-class residents

Horwood’s map of 1819 shows much of the north side of the street occupied by livery stables

It also seems to have had its share of professional occupants, notably the lawyer Richard Samuel White

In 1821 The Times reported the death of the baby son of Mr R. S. White of Lincoln’s Inn and Bidborough Street (The Times, 20 March 1821); a rather happier announcement was that of the subsequent birth of his daughter (The Times, 18 February 1822), although tragically she then also died as an infant (The Times, 6 July 1822)

At least one son survived to adulthood: Henry, whose engagement was announced in 1848, by which time his father had moved to Gordon Place (Gentleman’s Magazine, March 1848)

Ebenezer Landells opened a big wood-engraving workshop here in the 1830s or 1840s (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

By mid-century there was at least one lodging-house; in 1851 a fire broke out there and one of the lodgers, having saved her baby by throwing the infant down to bystanders, then had to jump out herself and was taken to the nearby Royal Free Hospital in a serious condition (The Times, 18 September 1851)

No. 25 was then occupied by Mr and Mrs Harris; he was a carpenter and undertaker (The Times, 18 September 1851)

In the twentieth century it merged with Claremont Place to the east under the name Bidborough Street

This page last modified 14 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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