Gower Street, WC1E

Place Name

Gertrude Leveson-Gower (February 15, 1715 – July 1, 1794) was one of the prime instigators in the residential development of Bloomsbury in the late 18thCentury. She was the daughter of the Earl of Gower, and in 1737 married local landowner John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford, whose family had acquired Bloomsbury in 1669. This was in the west of their estate and, until its development, had been marshy fields of little value. This street was laid out in various stages between the 1780s and the 1820s, from the south up. In Richard Horwood’s Plan of London drawn up between 1792 – 1799 Gower Street runs from Bedford Square to Torrington Place (then called Francis Street). According to Johnstone’s London Commercial Guide and Street Directory of 1817 it had been completed by about 1790 and had 86 houses on it. The road then continued northwards as Upper Gower Street ending in open fields. It was to take nearly 40 years (between the 1780s and 1819) for it to be completed. In 1841 the Post Office directory shows that the street was dominated by professional residents, particularly physicians and surgeons, but also attorneys, barristers, and architects. The 1851 Post Office directory shows numerous dentists, surgeons, and physicians, as well as professors of music and dancing, the university booksellers Lewis, artists, solicitors, an architect, and suppliers of tobacco, wine, and beer. Gower Street underground station (now Euston Square), on the Metropolitan line, was opened in 1863.

 

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