Crestfield Street, WC1H

place name

Formerly Chesterfield Street, after the Derbyshire town of Chesterfield, it was renamed in 1937. This is one of a cluster of streets named after localities in the north of Britain: Argyll Square after Argyle, or Argyll in Scotland; Belgrove Street, formerly Belgrave Street (Warwickshire); and, Birkenhead Street (Cheshire). There were also once Manchester, Liverpool and Derby Streets here. David Hayes in East of Bloomsbury says that development of the street began in 1825 by W. Forrester Bray, despite the continuing presence of John Smith’s tip close by, which was not removed until the following year. Prior to its development, the area had been fields. In 1800 it was owned by William Brock and it continued to be used for gardens and meadows until the early 1820s – indeed, Horwood’s 1819 map shows this as the site of New Road Nursery garden, when it was purchased by Thomas Dunstan, William Robinson, and William Flanders for development. It had been earmarked for an ambitious building project, an entertainment complex with theatre, galleries, reading rooms, gardena and pleasure grounds, but works never got started and it was developed for residential use instead. Hayes has also suggested its original name was aspirational after Lord Chesterfield.

 

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