UCL logo




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)

Mabledon Place

Also known as Mabledon Row

It is in the north-east of Bloomsbury, on the Skinners’ estate, running between Burton Crescent and Euston Road, just east of the Duke of Bedford’s estate, and with the north end of its west side sliced into by the Somers estate

It does not appear on Horwood’s map of 1799, but is shown planned on his maps of 1807 and 1813, and fully numbered on his map of 1819

Some negotiations with the Somers estate must have taken place, as the gardens of nos 1–2 (and possibly 3) at the north end on the west side are shown as extending across the estate boundary

It was formerly fields, as shown on the 1785 plan of the Skinners’ estate

It was named after Mabledon near Tonbridge in Kent

In the 1871 census it appears as “Mabledon Row”

Horwood’s map of 1819 shows the following numbering system: on the west side, consecutive numbers from 1 to 13, running from north to south; and on the east side, consecutive numbers from 14 to 22, running from south to north

The Skinners’ estate office was at no. 12

In the early nineteenth century it was relatively affluent; a burglary at the house of John Wilson, esquire, here in 1824 gained the burglars only a few items of silver, as most of the plate which they were thought to be after was kept in one of the bedrooms (The Times, 27 October 1824)

It was also associated with charitable work; in 1830 no. 2 was the address of George Cooper, Secretary of the District Society for Visiting and Relieving the Sick and Distressed Poor at their own Habitations

No. 5 was one of the addresses of engraver Samuel Williams in 1834 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

No. 11 was the home of John Orrin Smith, wood-engraver, who died there in 1843 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

In 1850 a stag which had been hunted from Somers Town to the north escaped by leaping the gate at the top of the street

In the 1860s many houses were let out as lodgings; Richard Bray, a traveller, aged 40, related to respectable stockbrokers, was lodging at no. 19 in 1866 when he tried to commit suicide there by slashing his throat (The Times, 6 June 1866)

Later in the century there was a pub, the Kentish Arms, on the site of what is now Mabel’s; in 1883 the St Pancras JPs refused to renew its licence after one of the brothers who ran it was discovered to have been convicted of assaulting a man with a billiard cue, although the licence was granted again after an appeal (The Times, 23 April 1883)

There was a fire at no. 5 in 1895, in which several lodgers were burned and one, Miss Nellie Taylor, aged 20, despite being rescued by her sister and another lodger, later died of her injuries (The Times, 28 January 1895; 30 January 1895)

There was a gate at the north end until 1902, when it was removed and the road widened

This page last modified 14 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


Bloomsbury Project - University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT - Telephone: +44 (0)20 7679 3134 - Copyright © 1999-2005 UCL

Search by Google