Belgrove Street, WC1H

Place Name

When the street was first laid out, in the first half of the 19thCentury, it was called Belgrave Street, which is thought to be after the Warwickshire locality and continues the developers’ theme of naming local streets after locations in the north of Britain (hence, among others, Argyle Street, Crestfield Street and Birkenhead Street). Before its development this area was part of the Battle Bridge Estate, originally fields which covered an area to the east and west of Gray’s Inn Road. The UCL Bloomsbury Project citing the Survey of London says: “The development of the New Road (Euston Road), in the middle of the eighteenth century cut across the 18-acre part of the field west of Gray’s Inn Road, leaving most of it south of the New Road.” The site (about 16.5 acres, of which 15.25 were south of Euston Road) was purchased in 1824 by developers Thomas Dunstan, William Robinson and William Flander but building progressed slowly and was not completed south of the New Road until the 1840s. While noted for their charm, the houses weren’t particularly high-class; indeed, by 1848, the entire area was reported to be overcrowded and squalid. The coming of the railways in the late-19thCentury did little to improve things, many of the houses were converted to lodging houses and cheap hotels, quickly acquiring a dubious reputation which persisted well into the 20thCentury.

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