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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)

Draper’s Place

Also known as Brantome Place

It ran diagonally north-east from the top of Burton Street, along most of the route of the modern Flaxman Terrace

A narrow flight of steps led down to it from Burton Street, and at the other end, it led through to the top of North Crescent Mews, which then provided egress to Mabledon Place through an archway next to the pub

Livery stables there were being advertised in The Times in 1817 (The Times, 24 April 1817)

Elizabeth Easley, aged about 18, a resident of no. 2 Draper’s Place, was one of six people killed when a weekend excursion train from Euston to Oxford crashed on its way through Bicester railway station amid confusion about whether it was to stop there (The Times, 8 September 1851; Morning Chronicle, 20 September 1851)

The Easley family were surprisingly long-established, in a street of tenements and transient workers; Margaret and her husband Thomas, with daughters Jane and Elizabeth, were at no. 2 at the time of the 1841 census, operating a laundry, and the widowed Margaret was still living there in 1871, according to the census of that year

Six of the street’s houses (nos 12, 13, 18, 19, 21, and 23) were advertised as undergoing extensive repairs and having good potential as investment property in 1862 (The Times, 22 March 1862)

This either represents a sudden improvement or (more likely) an estate agent’s exaggeration, as in 1860 it had been described as “a vile slum where ‘squalor, disease and death were rampant with immorality and crime’, and where typhus and gaol fever were rife” (David Hayes, East of Bloomsbury, 1998)

The Victorian piano factory of Eavestaff & Sons stood on what is now the corner with Duke’s Road (David Hayes, East of Bloomsbury, 1998)

There were still stables there; some were advertised for lease in The Times of 17 May 1888

It was one of the streets into which an inquiry was held in 1893 under the provisions of the Houses of the Working Classes Act, 1890, because of its insanitary conditions (The Times, 22 February 1893); it was found that reconstruction would be necessary and expenses shared between the London County Council and St Pancras Vestry (The Times, 31 October 1893)

It was renamed Brantome Place in 1885 (David Hayes, East of Bloomsbury, 1998), but both it and North Crescent Mews were demolished to make way for Flaxman Terrace, built in 1907–1908

This page last modified 14 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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