Colonnade, WC1N

Place Name

This was formerly a Georgian-era colonnade of shops, whose upper storeys projected over the pavement supported by a pillared arcade at the back of the buildings on the north side of Upper Guilford Street. The Times newspaper on June 27, 1798 advertised the 94 years remaining on the lease of a newly-erected brick mansion, “forming part of that regular pile of building with colonnade” opposite the north side of Queen Square and commanding views to Hampstead and Highgate. It was built in the late 18thCentury, during a period of rapid residential development in the district, and appears on Horwood’s map of 1799, with numbered houses to the north side and unnumbered buildings, presumably stables, on the south side. On John Rocque’s slightly earlier 1746 map, the area is still fields. In May 1795, William Hillyer opened a soup shop here to supply the predominantly Irish labourers who were building streets on the Foundling Hospital estate, and the poor of the neighbourhood. Donald Olsen in Town Planning in London, says “The entire street had become a slum by 1870.” Further, “The vestry of St Pancras condemned property here in 1884, buying up the leasehold interests and surrendering them to the Foundling estate.” No trace of the Georgian colonnade remains having been displaced by Russell Square tube station and other modern buildings.

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