Brewer Street, W1B, W1F

Place Name

Named rather practically after the breweries established here in the late 17thCentury by Thomas Ayres and Henry Davies and were indeed still brewing beer into the 18thCentury. This well-established route originated as a field boundary between various ancient parcels of agricultural land which had historically been in the hands of different estates. Having long served as an east-west route through the fields, it was built up during the late 17thCentury when the various different estates turned it into a new street by granting building licenses along its north and south sides. Most of the entire south side of the modern street, together with the centre of the north side, belonged to the Pulteney estate, and building work started at the east end of this estate’s portion of the street in the early 1660s. In the early 1680s construction started on the north side of the new street. By 1670 the name New Way had been applied to the west end of the street, referring to the route laid out by the estates. The land forming the north side between Bridle Lane and Warwick Street was part of the south edge of Gelding Close, and in the 1680s this belonged to Martha Axtell and her associates. In 1684 she granted fifty-one-year building leases on most of this land to a group of speculating builders. By 1681-2 the street had been half built up but it appears unnamed on Ogilby and Morgan’s map of London – though its east portion is called Poultney Street. It wasn’t until 1692 that the name Brewer Street first appears in records. The east end of Brewer Street was originally called Knaves’ Acre – presumably it owed this name to its previous use as a rubbish dump, then Little Pulteney Street, to distinguish it from Great Pulteney Street. It was not until 1937 that the entire street was renamed Brewer Street. Davies’ brewery disappears from the records in about 1745, while Ayres’ brewery survived up until the early 20thCentury.




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