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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)

Tonbridge Place

Also known as Tunbridge Place

This was the name originally given to a terrace of houses on the south side of Euston Road, between Mabledon Place and Tonbridge Street

It appears in the process of development on Horwood’s maps of 1807 and 1813, both of which show houses sketched in west but not east of Judd Street; the whole row, however, bears the name Tunbridge (sic) Place

His map of 1819 shows houses completed along the whole terrace

Horwood’s map of 1819 shows consecutive numbers from 1–16 and 18–20 west of Judd Street, running from west to east, with an unnumbered house on the corner; then east of Judd Street, another unnumbered house and then consecutive numbers from 23–35, running from west to east and ending at Tonbridge Street

The unnumbered building occupying the space where no. 17 would be was presumably the Tonbridge Chapel, built by benefactor and occasional lay preacher Thomas Wilson here in 1810 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

This Chapel is marked clearly on Weller’s map of 1868, with a way leading to it from Bidborough Street to its south

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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