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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


Tottenham Court

By the beginning of the nineteenth century, this was the name applied specifically to the buildings on the south side of Euston Road at its extreme western end, between Tottenham Court Road and Beaumont Place, the name Tottenham Court having previously been applied to this general neighbourhood

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

However, Rocqu’es map of 1746 shows some scattered development around the area which became the junction of Tottenham Court Road with Euston Road; he labels this part of Tottenham Court Road “Tottenham Court”

The name is a corruption of the ancient Tottenhall manor house

Horwood’s map of 1819 shows consecutive numbers from 1–15, running from west to east

The 1841 census shows a population of middle-class professionals and some occupants of independent means; they included an architect, an engraver, a brass founder, a zinc worker, an iron bedstead maker, a mason, a sculptor, basket makers, upholsterers, milliners, a jeweller, a bookseller, a gunmaker, and an organ builder whose family kept servants

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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