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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)

Judd Street

It is in the north-east of Bloomsbury, leading south from Euston Road to just below Leigh Street, where the Skinners’ estate bordered the Foundling estate

It was developed by James Burton, William Mitchell, and Francis Oxley from 1808 (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

Its houses had all been erected by 1816 (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

The 1785 plan of the Skinners’ estate shows almost all of the estate as fields, but there was a house, Bowling Green House, with associated bowling greens and other buildings, in the area which later became Judd Street

It is named after Sir Andrew Judd, who gave the estate to the Skinners’ Company in 1572 (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

Horwood’s map of 1819 shows on the east side, consecutive numbers from 1 to 41, running from south to north (and beginning a few houses below Cromer Street), and on the west side, consecutive numbers from 42 to 82, running from north to south, and ending just below Leigh Street

It has since been renumbered with odd numbers on the west side and even numbers on the east side

Its houses were comparatively large and elaborately decorated, so designed for relatively well-off occupants; there were also apparently some purpose-built shops (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

The Survey of London notes many doctors, surgeons, and lawyers as early inhabitants (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

No. 62 seems to have been for some time the address of the Brunswick Library, run by a Mr Territt (The Times, 21 May 1819, 21 October 1829)

The Sun Fire Office records list John Territt, “bookseller stationer and librarian” as being insured here on 17 March 1824

The street was also home to several artists: no. 79 was the home of promising artist Theodore Lane, who died here after a fall at the horse bazaar in Gray’s Inn Road in 1828

No. 66 was the home of the wood-engraver Orrin Smith, and for some years his friend, author and painter Edward Chatfield (“Echion”), who died here in 1839 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

The Skinners’ Arms pub here dates back to at least 1839

The singer Thomas Ludford Bellamy died at a house here in 1843 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

No. 57 was probably where Chartist publisher Henry Hetherington died of cholera in 1849; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and sources following it say “Judd Street, Hanover Square”, but there was no such street in the Hanover Square area at this time

No. 67 was the home of French-born experimental chemist Alphonse Le Mire de Normandy until 1860 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

In 1874, Anthony Trollope published Phineas Finn, which characterises Judd Street as a place of “decent and respectable obscurity”:

“Judd Street runs into the New Road near the great stations of the Midlands and Northern Railways, and is a highly respectable street. But it can hardly be called fashionable, as is Piccadilly; or central, as is Charing Cross; or commercial, as is the neighbourhood of St. Paul’s. Men seeking the shelter of an hotel in Judd Street most probably prefer decent and respectable obscurity to other advantages” (Anthony Trollope, Phineas Finn, 1874)

Nos 62–63 are original houses which still survive from the first phase of building

This page last modified 14 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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