UCL logo




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)

Burton Crescent

Also known as Cartwright Gardens

It is in the north of Bloomsbury, forming a crescent below and to the west of Mabledon Place

It was built by James Burton in 1809–1820 (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

This area was undeveloped farmland until the early eighteenth century, when residential development of the estate began in response to the development of the neighbouring Foundling estate

It was originally named after its architect and builder, James Burton

It was renamed in 1908 after former resident John Cartwright, whose statue has stood in its gardens since 1831 (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

Horwood’s map of 1819 shows consecutive numbers from 1 to 25 on the east (straight) part of the street, running from south to north, and on the west (crescent-shaped) side, consecutive numbers from 28 (sic) to 63, running from north to south

It was a quality development attractive to professional occupants

No. 9 was home to the novelist John Galt from 1813 to 1814 (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

No. 39 was “Belvedere House”, a boarding-school for young ladies (The Times, 30 July 1816)

No. 37 was the home from 1819 of Major John Cartwright, the “Father of Reform” after whom the street was renamed in 1908; he died there in 1824 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

In 1825 a gentleman visiting another gentleman in Burton Crescent left his horse tied to the area railings for a short time, only for it to be stolen and ridden away hard towards the New Road; the men who tried to claim the reward for finding it were suspected of being the thieves themselves and sent away with nothing, enraging them (The Times, 2 December 1825)

In 1831 a statue to Major Cartwright was unveiled in the gardens outside his former home

The apothecary William Pretty lived here in the 1820s and 1830s

James White, the pioneer advertising agent and friend of Charles Lamb, had a house here, where he died in 1820

No. 1 was the home of social reformer Sir Edwin Chadwick in the 1830s

The Carpenter’s Arms was listed here in Robson’s Directory of 1832

No. 2 (now gone; on site of Commonwealth Hall) was home in 1837–1839 to Rowland Hill, Post Office reformer

No. 18 may have been home to William Moon, inventor of typeface for the blind

No. 20 and subsequently no. 34 were home to Rev. Sydney Smith

The 1841 Post Office directory shows the street as middle-class and professional, listing many Esquires, a solicitor, two clergymen, a merchant, and an architect and surveyor, as well as the St Pancras General Dispensary at no. 26 (north end)

No. 10 was home to the church architect Edward Buckton Lamb from 1841 to 1844

The 1851 Post Office directory shows a still largely middle-class and professional street, albeit increasingly eclectic: inhabitants included Miss L. Brandon, Professor of Music, several surgeons and physicians, a sculptor, Dominique Auguste Des Jardins, Professor of French, an admiral, and Dr Forbes, Professor of Languages at no. 58

The last-named was Duncan Forbes of the London Oriental Institution, Professor of Oriental Languages at King’s College London and cataloguer of Persian manuscripts in the British Museum; he died at his home in Burton Crescent in 1868 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

No. 3 was the home of Thomas Burgon, a former Levant Company merchant later employed in the coin room of the British Museum; he died here in 1858 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

Trollope’s novel The Small House at Allington is partly set in the street; the character John Eames lodges there

The 1861 Post Office directory shows a continuing trend towards eclecticism: Misses Lucinda and Martha Brandon, Professors of Music, have been joined by Marcus Neumann, Professor of Mysic, several physicians, an artist, a plumber, two clergymen, a lodging-house at no. 14, and the expert on military pigeons, Victor La Perre De Roo

There were also, perhaps, more Jewish residents, with names such as Samuel, Levi and Levy, Cohen, and Moses featuring in the directory

No. 4 was the scene in 1878 of the unsolved “Burton Crescent Murder”; the victim, Rachel Samuel, was an elderly widow

The 1924 novel The Cartwright Gardens Murder Case by J. S. Fletcher is totally unrelated to this case, although it is set in the street

The south-west curve’s occupants in the late nineteenth century caused it to appear deep blue (for very poor) on Booth’s poverty map

No. 45 was home to the Society for the Rescue of Young Women & Children, while no. 49 was home to the Main Memorial Home for Deserted Mothers

Lodging-houses had begun appearing in the 1870s, with the Jews’ Deaf and Dumb Home at no. 41 being listed in the Post Office directory of 1871, while a temperance hotel was established at no. 21 by 1881, although there were still some physicians in the street at this date, according to the Post Office directory

By 1891 it had a midwife and a patent medicine company, as well as a builder and a dairyman; and the Home for Deserted Mothers and their Children had moved to no. 49 (Post Office directory, 1891)

By the beginning of the twentieth century, it had become increasingly devoted to commercial premises and lodging-houses by the 1901 Post Office directory, which listed 15 of its houses as available in apartments; the dairyman was still there, as was the Amalgamated Trade Society of Boot and Shoe Makers (City section), a live bird importer, a wood engraver, a bicycle agent, a wood engraver, an accountant, and an auctioneer

It was renamed Cartwright Gardens in 1908

This page last modified 14 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


Bloomsbury Project - University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT - Telephone: +44 (0)20 7679 3134 - Copyright © 1999-2005 UCL

Search by Google