Thomas Beak, or Beake, one of Queen Anne’s Messengers, who acquired a plot of land on the north side of the street (between modern Regent Street and Kingly Street) in about 1680. This was during a period of a major building boom in the city which followed the Great Fire of London in 1666 and saw speculative builders, who might be anybody from aristocrats to labourers, entering the development business with a fair hope of making a quick fortune. The bigger speculators, often financiers or courtiers, like Beak, purchased the land, divided it into building plots and leased them singly to the lesser speculators, masons and carpenters, who erected the houses. The western part of this well-established route appears on a survey map of 1585 when it formed an ancient highway from Piccadilly to what is now Oxford Circus. Its houses started being built in the mid 1680s. The section between Upper James Street and Lexington Street was originally called Silver Street, with Beak Street only referring to its short western section. It all became Beak Street in 1883.