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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Streets, Squares, and Buildings

Gray’s Inn 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 Gray’s Inn Estate

Gray’s Inn is one of the four Inns of Court in London, which control admission to the Bar for lawyers in England and Wales

Its estate in the south-east corner of Bloomsbury is on the edge of the legal district of London and has its origins in the manor house of Purpoole (www.graysinn.info)

The Inn developed and prospered in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, not only as a place of training for lawyers, but also as a place of entertainment and celebration (www.graysinn.info)

It was a residential place of training akin to the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, with a Hall, Chapel, Library, accommodation, and extensive gardens, all arranged around Squares

As an Inn of Court it was also extra-parochial, or outside the boundaries of local parishes, and exempt from their taxes

It continues to operate as a place of legal training and a base for barristers’ chambers

Warwick Court

Not to be confused with Warwick Court near Warwick Lane in the City of London

It is in the south-east of Bloomsbury, running north from High Holborn to Warwick Place, south of Gray’s Inn

It appears on Rocque’s map of 1746

This area was developed as early as the seventeenth century

It was named after the Warwick House (once the house of Princess Charlotte) which stood on the site from the seventeenth century until the early nineteenth century

According to Strype, Warwick Court was “newly built out of Warwick House and Garden” (John Strype, Stow’s Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, Corrected, Improved and Very Much Enlarged, 1720) but the house was still extant in 1813, albeit in a ruinous state (Henry B. Wheatley, London Past and Present, 1891)

Horwood’s maps of 1807 and 1819 show on the east side, consecutive numbers from 1 to 8, running from south to north, with unnumbered buildings before and after no. 8, and on the west side, consecutive numbers from 11 down to 8 and then up again to 14, running from north to south

According to Strype, it was “a very handsome and spacious Place, with a broad Freestone Pavement; and garnished on both sides by large and well built Brick Houses, fit only for Persons of Repute”(John Strype, Stow’s Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, Corrected, Improved and Very Much Enlarged, 1720)

No. 15 was the insured premises of James Reeves, copper plate and letter press printer, in the 1830s (Sun Fire Office MS 11936/525/1105245, 3 March 1830, London Metropolitan Archives)

By 1886 no. 15 was the London College of Shorthand, formerly at 323 High Holborn

According to G. H. Duckworth, walking round the area on 12 July 1898 to update Booth’s poverty survey, it had only one or two residents, the rest of its buildings being offices and shops

It remains popular as a location for offices and lawyers

This page last modified 14 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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