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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Streets, Squares, and Buildings

Harrison 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 Harrison Estate

The estate comprised an eighteen-acre field which was already established as a brickmaking centre by the early seventeenth century, when it was owned by the Harrison family (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

Thomas Harrison, formerly a farmer, inherited the estate in 1783 (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

He observed closely the development of the Foundling estate to the south, and seems to have decided to follow their example by building on his land instead of producing the bricks for other developments (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

In 1807 he was himself living in one of the earliest houses to be built on the estate, at Sidmouth Place, fronting Gray’s Inn Road, but he had moved out by 1809 (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

Horwood’s map of 1807 shows the houses on Sidmouth Place and eight houses at the east end of Sidmouth Street; it also shows the tile kiln adjoining this small development

The famous “Harrison dust heap” was actually on the Battle Bridge estate to the north; the brickmakers mixed these ash with the rich brick earth (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

In 1809 an Act of Parliament was passed to allow Thomas Harrison to develop his estate properly, although the main development was further delayed as, ironically, the estate was too busy supplying its neighbours with bricks to be able to spare the time and materials for its own land until 1818 (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

The estate was bordered by the Cromer–Lucas estate to the north, the St George’s Bloomsbury parish boundary to the west, Gray’s Inn Road to the east, and the Foundling Hospital estate to the south (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

This means that it extended to a line north of Harrison Street and south of Cromer Street at its western end, down Wakefield Street in the west to the east end of Handel Street, across north of the burying grounds to include Prospect Terrace, and continuing this diagonal line to Gray’s Inn Road, the west side of which formed its eastern boundary

The Harrison estate still existed as such in the 1920s, when it was one of the interested parties represented in the negotiations over the future of the neighbouring Foundling Hospital site (The Times, 13 January 1928, 14 January 1928, 4 February 1928)

Sidmouth Place

This was the name originally given to the terrace built by the Harrison estate on its eastern edge, the western side of Gray’s Inn Road south of Harrison Street (Surve12 April, 2011eft">It was developed before 1807; Thomas Harrison himself occupied one of the houses until 1809 (Survey of London, vol, 24, 1952)

The terrace, along with all the other separate terraces on Gray’s Inn Road, was incorporated into Gray’s Inn Road in 1862 and renumbered; this became odd nos 217–231a, running from south to north (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

This page last modified 14 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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