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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Streets, Squares, and Buildings

Somers 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 Somers Estate

The southern part of the estate most famous for Somers Town, north of Euston Road, lies just within Bloomsbury, being an area immediately to the east of St Pancras Church

It was acquired in the seventeenth century by the Cocks family, a member of whom was ennobled as Baron Somers in 1784 (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

The estate was developed in the early nineteenth century; its Bloomsbury terrace of Somers Place (east and west) was supposedly rather fine, but there is less information about its other streets here such as South Row (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952)

Most of these have now disappeared; the terraces which formed part of Euston Road itself were all incorporated into Euston Road in the late nineteenth century

South Place

Not to be confused with the South Place in Finsbury which gave its name to the South Place Ethical Society

It was in the north of Bloomsbury; is listing in the 1841 census places it somewhere near St Pancras New Church, on the Somers estate, and probably a terrace on the south side of Euston Road

It seems to have been too small to appear on maps, although Cruchley’s map of 1827 helpfully calls South Row “South Place” (they may have been adjacent)

It is not listed in Elmes’s Topographical Dictionary of London and its Environs (1831)

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

Miss Tunstall, a singer who performed at Vauxhall Gardens in the early nineteenth century, lived here (Samuel Palmer, St Pancras: Being Antiquarian, Topographical, and Biographical Memoranda, 1870)

The 1841 census shows its residents to have been relatively poor: shoe and boot makers, a labourer, a porter, a wheelwright, a wood turner, a painter

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

Somers Place West was incorporated as even numbers in the 120s–140s Euston Road

This page last modified 14 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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