Broadwick Street, W1F


This well established route carried the name Broad Street until 1936, when the rather meaningless wick was added to avoid confusion with other Broad Streets. It was laid out in 1686 and for the time its width was quite exceptional owing to an ill-fated scheme by 17thCentury developer James Pollett to create a Soho hay market, replacing the one in Haymarket, at the junction with Edward Street and Berwick Street. While the scheme failed its memory seems to have lived on in the unusual width the street was to achieve. Instead, in the early 18thCentury it became an informal meeting area and a street market grew up here where round the corner in Berwick Street it still survives. Historically this land was part of four different agricultural estates – Colman Hedge Close, Gelding’s Close, Pawlett’s Garden and Pesthouse Close – defined by ancient field boundaries. The eastern-most section between Berwick Street and Wardour Street was the first to be built up from 1686 by Pollett on land belonging to Sir Edward Wardour, hence at first it was called Edward Street. Immediately after Pollett obtained another lease from Wardour to start building on Colman Hedge Close and the street proceeded west in fits and starts, with the final section, on Penthouse Close, being completed in 1736. By the time John Rocque published his map of London in 1746 it had been renamed Broad Street, and its western section terminated at Marshall Street.


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