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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Streets, Squares, and Buildings


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

Area of fragmented ownership

The area extending north from High Holborn east of the Bedford estate boundary at Southampton Row and King Street, being nearer to the city of London, was developed much earlier than the fields to its north

The major landowners in the east of this area were Gray’s Inn, and the Bedford Charity, Doughty, and Rugby estates, all of which also began developing their land in the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century

Nicholas Barbon, who was the first major speculative builder in the area, laid out Red Lion Square itself as well as many of the streets further north and east; it is not clear who owned the land of Red Lion Fields on which the Square was built

To its north, Queen Square and surrounding land was part of an estate owned by the Curzons of Kedleston, Derbyshire, also developed in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, but sold off by about 1779 to pay off debts

Queen Square and Red Lion Square in particular, as well as the smaller streets in the area around them, thus became attractive locations in the nineteenth century to institutions which would have found it more difficult to establish themselves on the surrounding estates with their restrictions on non-residential and commercial tenants

Along the borders of Bloomsbury, the increasing importance of Euston Road, Gray’s Inn Road, High Holborn, and Tottenham Court Road as through traffic routes meant that they became more unified and coherent as streets, despite the multiplicity of estates whose land they had originally incorporated; as their residential significance to those estates waned, so they too became easier targets for institutions

Yorkshire Grey Yard

Not to be confused with Yorkshire Grey Yard, Hampstead

Also not to be confused with the modern Yorkshire Grey Yard, also off Eagle Street but not in the same location as the nineteenth-century street of this name

The 1841 census places it between 53 and 54 Eagle Street, on the north side of the street

Horwood’s maps of 1799 and 1819 do not name a Yorkshire Grey Yard or show any yard in the modern position, nor do the numbers on Eagle Street reach 53 or 54 on this map

The Ordnance Survey map of 1867–1870 also does not name a Yorkshire Grey Yard or show any yard in the modern position, although it does show numerous alleys and courts leading off Eagle Street, many of them not named

One in particular of these is close to a building marked as a public house, just west of Leigh Street; this seems likely to have been the original Yorkshire Grey Yard

A report in The Times in 1830 makes reference to the Yorkshire Grey pub on Eagle Street, which is presumably the original pub after which the yard was named (The Times, 28 April 1830)

In the 1841 census, there was a single dwelling inhabited by two families of grooms; it may well have been stables

In 1851 there were two slaughterhouses here; the Holborn Registrar attributed three recent deaths and two hospitalisations of residents of 53 Eagle Street, which overlooked the slaughterhouses, to infections from this source (Medical Times, 13 September 1851)

The London and Suburban Licensed Victuallers’, Hotel and Tavern Keepers’ Directory of 1874 lists the Yorkshire Grey pub (kept by Walter Stebbings) at no. 54 Eagle Street

The yard is not listed in the 1881 census, nor is there anything listed between nos 53 and 54 Eagle Street

This page last modified 14 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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