Chenies Mews, WC1E

Place Name

After one of the many titles of local landowners, the dukes of Bedford, also titled Barons Russell of Chenies. It comes from Chenies Manor House, Buckinghamshire – itself named after its 12thCentury owners, the Cheney family –  which became the family seat in 1526 after passing through marriage to John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford. While they held it for several centuries, the Russells soon abandoned the house as their main seat in favour of Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire. They already owned Covent Garden in London by the time they acquired Bloomsbury in 1669. This was the north-eastern part of their estate, and remained undeveloped fields until the late 18thCentury, which is about the time this street was laid out as a mews for the Bedford estate residents. Maps show it divided and variously named over the course of its history. In 1801 it ran north from Store Street as far as Pancras Street (today, Capper Street). A map of 1827 shows the south part, between Store Street and Chenies Street, as Little Store Street. By the time of the 1841 census, it was established that it ran only as far north as Francis Street (today, Torrington Place), the rest of the street being Upper Chenies Mews. The Ordnance Survey map of 1867–1870 has the whole street as Chenies Mews, but other maps of the same period still show the very southern tip as Little Store Street. In the late 19thCentury, redevelopment saw the street again divided, into Ridgmount Garden north of Chenies Street and Ridgmount Street south of Chenies Street. Donald Olsen in Town Planning in London says that in 1880 it was widened into Ridgmount Street, as there was no longer any need for mews. Camden History Society adds that it was subsequently “redeveloped into flats for ‘other than the artisan or labouring classes’”.




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