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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Streets, Squares, and Buildings

Doughty 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 Doughty Estate

The Doughty estate in the south-east of Bloomsbury was part of extensive lands owned by the Doughty and Tichborne families, mainly outside London (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

Its proximity to the Foundling Estate meant that in the late eighteenth century it was involved in exchanges of land to enable the Foundling Estate to connect its new residential developments with the rest of London (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

This also prompted the Doughty estate owners to begin developing their land (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

The estate is sometimes also known as the Brownlow–Doughty estate, after William Brownlow, who built the streets in the late seventeenth century, and Elizabeth Brownlow, who had married into the Doughty family

In 1867 the estate was embroiled in the celebrated Tichborne case, when a claimant came forward asserting his identity as Sir Roger Charles Doughty-Tichborne, which would have entitled him to the Doughty estate in Bloomsbury along with other property (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, entry for Tichborne claimant)

Sir Edward Doughty, né Tichborne, came into possession of the Doughty estate in 1826 from his cousin, Mrs Elizabeth Doughty, daughter of George Brownlow-Doughty and granddaughter of the fourth Baronet Tichborne; he changed his name to Doughty as a condition of the settlement (Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 193, May 1853)

Prior to this, it was Henry Doughty who had been negotiating land deals with the Foundling Estate on behalf of the Doughty Estate (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

The entire estate was sold off in 1921; Joseph Henry Bernard Doughty Tichborne, The Doughty Estate, Holborn (1921) has details and plans of the property included in the sale


Doughty Street

Also known as Upper John Street

It runs from Mecklenburgh Square to Henry Street

It was developed over the thirty years from 1792 (David Hayes, East of Bloomsbury, 1998)

It was named after Henry Doughty of Bedford Row, who began the development of it in 1792 when the Foundling Hospital extended Guilford Street east over his land

No. 22 was the home from 1797 of Josiah Pratt, editor of the Christian Observer before Zachary Macaulay and later secretary of the Missionary Society (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

No. 6 was from 1799 to 1802 the laboratory of Edward Charles Howard, chemist and chemical engineer, who discovered the explosive mercury fulminate around this time (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

No. 8 (David Hayes, East of Bloomsbury (1998) says no. 14) was the home of author and wit Rev. Sydney Smith from 1803 until possibly 1806 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

No. 52 was the family home of architect William Brooks and his wife Elizabeth (née Sabine), their son Charles William Shirley Brooks, who later became editor of Punch, was born there in 1816 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

No. 10 was the family home of the architect of the first University College Hospital building, the Unitarian Alfred Ainger, and his first wife, Marianne (née Jagger); their son (Canon) Alfred Ainger was born there in 1837 and later attended University College School (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

No. 48 (now the Dickens Museum) was the home of Charles Dickens from 1837 to 1839, along with his wife Catherine (née Hogarth), their son Charles (later compiler of the Dictionary of London), two daughters born during the period, and his wife’s sister Mary until her sudden death there aged seventeen; the rent for his three-year lease was £80 a year (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

It is possible that the character of Mr Brownlow in Oliver Twist (written while Dickens was living here) was named with the Brownlow–Doughty estate in mind

No. 24 (destroyed in World War II; on site now occupied by part of London House) was home to Walter Butterfield, the architect, from 1848 to 1854 (David Hayes, East of Bloomsbury, 1998)

No. 53 was the home mid-century of Bloomsbury builder Thomas Cubitt (David Hayes, East of Bloomsbury, 1998)

No. 51 was the home mid-century of J. M. Levy, founder of the Daily Telegraph (David Hayes, East of Bloomsbury, 1998)

No. 33 was the home of William Ruff, racing journalist and pioneer of pigeon post, who died there in 1856 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

William Lawson, the Scottish portrait painter, moved here in 1859 with his wife Elizabeth (née Stones) and their young family, including sons Francis and Cecil, both of whom also became artists (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

No. 43 on the east side was home in 1860 to journalist Edmund Yates, who described the street as “none of your common thoroughfares to be rattled through by vulgar cabs and earth-shaking Pickford vans, but a self-including property with a gate at each end, and a lodge with a porter in a gold-laced hat, with the Doughty arms on the buttons of his coat”, preventing those not on business from ‘intruding on the exclusive territory’ ” (David Hayes, East of Bloomsbury, 1998)

In the 1860s no. 30 (East of Bloomsbury says no. 10) was the family home of architect’s assistant Frederick Mew and his wife Anna (née Kendall), daughter of the architect whose assistant he was (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

Their eldest daughter, poet Charlotte Mew, was born there in 1869, and later attended nearby Gower Street School for Girls; the family moved to 9 Gordon Street in 1888 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

In 1891 No. 29 (rebuilt) was Fellowship House, headquarters of the Fellowship of the New Life

No. 12 was the home from 1893 of William Tegg and his wife Mary Ann; Tegg had inherited from his father Thomas a company publishing cheap reprints, and he also wrote books for young people (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

No. 46 was the home of Dr William Summerskill and his wife Edith Clara (née Wilde); their daughter Edith, later Baroness Summerskill, the health campaigner and MP, was born there in 1901 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

Nos 29–31 were bombed in World War II and reconstructed afterwards in the original style (David Hayes, East of Bloomsbury, 1998)

In 1923 the Dickens Fellowship acquired Dickens’s house at no. 48, which had been threatened with demolition; they opened it to the public as a museum in 1925 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

This page last modified 14 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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