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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Streets, Squares, and Buildings

Fitzroy (Duke of Grafton) 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 Fitzroy (Duke of Grafton) Estate (also known as the Southampton Estate)

The north-west corner of Bloomsbury lies within what was originally Home Field, part of the manor of Tottenhall, owned from the seventeenth century by the Fitzroy family (Survey of London, vol. 21, 1949)

The names of the estate and many of its streets come from the name of family and its titles: Henry Fitzroy, an illegitimate son of Charles II, was created Earl of Euston and later Duke of Grafton in the seventeenth century, and his descendant Charles Fitzroy became first Baron Southampton in the eighteenth century (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

The estate has no connection with the former Southampton estate in the south of Bloomsbury which belonged to the earlier Earls of Southampton and was acquired by the Dukes of Bedford when this Southampton title became extinct

The Bloomsbury part of the Fitzroy estate was developed in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century

Most of its streets have disappeared entirely under twentieth-century redevelopment, but one of its names, Euston, was the name chosen for the entirety of the Bloomsbury portion of the New Road in 1857, as well as the name given to the first of the three major mainline railway termini built along the road


Palace Row

Also known as King John’s Palace

Not to be confused with Place Row

It was a collection of buildings on the north side of Euston Road at its western end

It appears as Palace Row on Cary’s map of 1795, and an advertisement in The Times in 1796 gives an address of 4, Palace Row (The Times, 29 September 1796)

The area was undeveloped and mostly fields until after the construction of Euston Road in the later eighteenth century

However, there was a small cluster of buildings dating back to at least the sixteenth century on the north-east corner of Euston Road, Hampstead Road, and Tottenham Court Road; one was the ancient manor house of Tottenhall, and the adjacent building was known as King John’s Palace (Survey of London, vol 21, 1949)

The original building on the site was called King John’s Palace; later buildings seem to have been named after this “palace”

Horwood’s map of 1807 shows consecutive numbers from 1–12, running from west to east

The palace was said to have been pulled down some time in the early nineteenth century (Survey of London, vol 21, 1949) but Lockie’s Topography of London (1810) lists the buildings here under the name King John’s Palace

The name Palace Row for the replacement buildings on the site survived for some time, and might also have been applied more generally to this block, encompassing adjacent premises including Palace Yard, Selby Place, and Grafton Yard (behind the Duke of Grafton pub)

A large leasehold estate comprising three houses in Palace Row and ten in Selby Place, with a substantial plot adjoining, was advertised for sale in 1820 (The Times, 18 April 1820)

There was a brewhouse (the Swan) in Palace Row as early as 1809, when its owners G. and W. Slade went bankrupt (The Times, 13 November 1809)

The area was occupied in the early part of the century by several businesses, including that of Torkington, wheelwright (The Times, 24 June 1819), an extensive and apparently very profitable cow-yard capable of containing 120 cows (The Times, 20 September 1820), William Sykes, timber merchants (insured by the Sun Fire Office in 1834 and 1836) and James Wallington, linen draper, at no. 15 (insured by the Sun Fire Office in 1835)

In 1829 the house and shop at no. 9 was advertised for sale; thought to be particularly appealing to bakers, pawnbrokers, fishmongers, furniture brokers, and the like, it offered an oven and the prospect of much passing trade in its situation near Tottenham Court Road and the ‘London University’ (The Times, 28 February 1829)

The engineers Charles and John Rich occupied no. 10 in the 1830s (wills proved 1833 and 1835); one of them was charged with assault in 1830 following a disturbance involving the dissection of a deceased Mrs Bradshaw being carried out by A. T. Thomson and his students for the University Dispensary, forerunner of University College Hospital, at his house across the way from Rich’s engineering workshops (The Times, 19 July 1830)

There was a rumour that the widower, Mr Bradshaw, had sold the body of his wife to the surgeons for dissection for £5, and Rich’s men formed a mob threatening to break all the windows and “do for the doctors”; when Bradshaw himself showed up, he was doused with water from the grindstone trough, which violence, The Times reported, he was ill able to withstand, having only one leg (The Times, 19 July 1830)

John Mullane, statuary and mason, occupied no. 5 in the 1830s (will proved 1837)

In 1850 there was a dress- and stay-making business at no. 8 Palace Row, advertising for an apprentice (The Times, 20 June 1850)

There were also still a cowkeeper, William Mundy, and a timber merchant, H. G. Dearlove, according to advertisements in The Jurist (12 January 1856; 7 March 1857)

In 1857 the Metropolitan Board of Works recommended that the ‘New Road’ be renamed along its length, with the section between Osnaburgh Street and King’s Cross to be known as Euston Road; at the same time, all its individual terrace names should be abolished to lessen confusion, as along the length of the road this would “substitute three names for 50” (Report of the Metropolitan Board of Works, 30 June 1857, House of Commons, Accounts and Papers, vol. 17: Public Health; Woods and Forests, 30 April–28 August 1857)

At the same time, the Euston Road would be renumbered according to the new and supposedly rational principle whereby odd numbers were always to be on the left and even numbers on the right, working from the end of the street nearest to St Paul’s Cathedral (Report of the Metropolitan Board of Works, 30 June 1857, House of Commons, Accounts and Papers, vol. 17: Public Health; Woods and Forests, 30 April–28 August 1857)

Accordingly, all the separate terraces were incorporated into the road, and this section of it was renamed Euston Road, after the Euston estates of the Duke of Grafton whose land it crosses

This page last modified 14 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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