Dyott Street, WC1A

Place Name

There are two contenders from the Dyott family, local residents who built up a large estate here in the 17thCentury, for the naming of the street. Gillian Bebbington in London Street Names says the street “was built across Pitance Croft, a field once belonging to St Giles Leper Hospital. In 1649 Henry Bainbridge (hence Bainbridge Street) purchased Pitance Croft and the property descended jointly to his granddaughters, Dame Mary Maynard, Sara Buckeridge and Jane Dyott, who each gave her name to a street, although Maynard and Buckeridge Streets have now disappeared. Their families were prominent parishioners, frequently mentioned in the parochial records of St Giles.” It has also been suggested that the street took its name from Simon Dyott, the husband of Jane Dyott who was a St Giles vestryman in 1676. The street appears on a 1746 map of London as Dyot Street. Despite its illustrious start however, by the mid-19thCentury, around the time that New Oxford Street opened, the area had become a notorious slum, and Dyot House, owned by Philip Dyot in 1782, later became a brothel. The slum’s centrepiece was the Rat’s Castle, the frequenters of which, “spoke openly of incidents which they had long ceased to blush at but which hardened habits of crime alone could teach them to avow.” It was during the removal of this building in 1845 that the foundations of St Giles’ hospital, established in the 12thCentury by Queen Matilda on the-then outskirts of the City were found. The area was completely redeveloped in the 20thCentury.

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