In the 17th and 18th centuries this area was packed with small courts, slum alleys and dilapidated tenements, as shown on John Rocque’s 1746 map of London. Poor light, air and ventilation made for a high death rate. Baird Street started life as part of Coleman Street, a narrow walkway between the Quakers Burying Ground and Hewletts Skin Warehouse. Under the auspices of an Artizans’ and Labourers’ Dwellings Improvement Act, the whole district was scheduled for redevelopment in 1880. The old buildings were torn down and the site was sold to the Peabody Trust, who erected their dwellings here. By 1883 new streets had been cut across the land and named Dufferin, Cahill, Baird, Errol and Roscoe, probably after trustees or associates of the Peabody Donation Fund. Hence Baird Street.
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