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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Streets, Squares, and Buildings

Capper Mortimer 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 Capper Mortimer Estate

This estate in the north-west corner of Bloomsbury originated as the Bromfield site, later known as Brickfields, which was occupied by the farming Capper family in the eighteenth century (Survey of London, vol. 21, 1949)

It had been acquired by Hans Winthrop Mortimer of Caldwell, Derby by 1768, and residential development began at the end of the eighteenth century (Survey of London, vol. 21, 1949)

It comprised an area of Bloomsbury roughly bounded by Tottenham Court Road, University Street, Pancras (Capper) Street, and Gower Street

Although small, it became significant in the development of Bloomsbury

The eastern end of the site, at the end of University (then Carmarthen) Street and north of the part of Gower Street on the Duke of Bedford’s land, was sold at auction in 1825 for residential development, but acquired by John Smith, Benjamin Shaw, and Isaac Lyon Goldsmid as the site for the new University of London (now UCL)

The area to the east of UCL, particularly around Mortimer Market, has also been extensively redeveloped for buildings of UCL and UCH

Carmarthen Square

(planned, not built)

It was intended to be built in the north-west of Bloomsbury, at the top of Gower Street

The British Library holds a plan headed ‘Plan of Carmarthen Square’ dating from 1796 (Maps.Crace XIV/50; available online through the British Library’s online gallery) which shows only the surrounding streets; the Square itself is left completely blank

The Square also appears in outline on Cruchley’s map of 1827

Land at the end of Carmarthen (now University) Street was bought for £22,050 at auction in November 1825 by Mr Bevan, a Lombard Street banker (H. Hale Bellot, University College London 1826–1926, 1929)

This land was already earmarked for residential development under the name Carmarthen Square, as is apparent from an earlier advertisement in the Morning Chronicle: “To be sold, or let on building leases, by order of the executors of the late Sir William Paxton, together or in Parcels, the Freehold Building Ground forming the sides of Carmarthen-square, the Garden of which is enclosed and decorated, situated northward of Upper Gower-street, containing above 1250 feet of Building Frontage. — N.B. a considerable part of the purchase-money, if sold, may remain on mortgage; and if let, ample time will be allowed for building” (Morning Chronicle, 13 May 1824)

Within a year, however, Bevan was bought out for £30,000 by John Smith, Benjamin Shaw, and Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, who held it until the Council of the fledgeling ‘University of London’ had raised the money to take over responsibility for it (H. Hale Bellot, University College London 1826–1926, 1929)

The foundation stone of the University's building was laid on 30 April 1827 (H. Hale Bellot, University College London 1826–1926, 1929)

Mortimer’s connection with Carmarthen is unknown

This page last modified 5 November, 2013 by Deborah Colville


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

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