Brownlow Mews, WC1N

Place Name

When it was built in the early 19thCentury, like nearby Brownlow Street, it was named after Elizabeth Brownlow (born 1659 – 1670), the daughter and heiress of 17thCentury landowner William Brownlow who had inherited some land in the area from his great grandfather, John Brownlow. The Brownlows, a dynasty of lawyers hailing from Lincolnshire, had begun accumulating land in the Belton area from approximately 1598. From 1617 for several centuries Belton House near Grantham was the family seat though they didn’t actually occupy it, preferring their properties elsewhere. John Brownlow and Alice Sherard, first cousins who had married in 1676, inherited the estate from their great uncle in about 1679, along with an income of £9000 per annum and £20,000 in cash. They immediately bought a townhouse in the newly fashionable Southampton Square in Bloomsbury. In about 1684 Elizabeth Brownlow married Philip Doughty, the son of another local landowning family, and the Brownlow land became part of the Doughty estate which was sold off in its entirety in 1921. The street was built as a mews for the east side of Doughty Street. John Rocque’s 1746 map shows the area as a rural outcrop to the west of Gray’s Inn Road while much of the surrounding area had already started being laid out. By the time Horwood’s 1819 map was published, it had been laid out however only the houses at the bottom end on the east side had been numbered. Some of its earliest buildings survived into the 20thCentury.

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