Before 1885 it was known as Princes Street. But was named after John Milton’s patron the Earl of Bridgewater, also known as Viscount Brackley, who had a town house here, almost on the site of the present Cripplegate Institute. Bridgewater Square was already named nearby. The property burnt down in 1687, killing the Earl’s young sons. The tragedy is commemorated in the names of Brackley Street, EC1Y and Viscount Street, both named after the 11-year-old Charles Egerton, Viscount Brackley (May 7, 1675 – April 1687) who perished in the fire. Bridgewater Street replaced a poor little street built in the ruins of the old house.
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