Heddon Street, W1B

Place name

Hedon, the town in Yorkshire, where prominent British Whig politician and landowner, Sir William Pulteney (March 22, 1684 – July 7, 1764), who later became Baron of Hedon, held property. In the 1720s Sir William became head of the wealthy Pulteney family, which had grown rich and powerful through the development of land in the West End. In 1575 a Thomas Pulteney was farming land in the area of what is now Mayfair. By 1590 another Thomas Pulteney, probably his son, had acquired a lease on some former monastic lands previously held by the Abbot and Convent of Abingdon and surrendered to the Crown in 1536 at the time of the Reformation. By 1651 the lands had been united into a five-acre parcel known as Mulghay Close or, occasionally, as Dog Field. The Pulteney’s interests were confirmed in 1661 by Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I, in a lease that ran into the 1730s. Dan Cruickshank in Soho tells the story of the estate’s development: “the operations of the speculating builders to which the Pulteney’s granted leases seems to have been so wayward, with houses started but not completed, that Sir Christopher Wren  – in his capacity as Surveyor General of the King’s Works – petitioned the king to intervene, which he duly did, issuing a proclamation in April 1671 to stop the works. The speculators, severely chastened, promised to complete the existing houses in brick and stone, not to start new ones and not to let buildings to ‘noisome’ trades… These buildings were almost certainly not of the best sort and all were swept away when, in the early eighteenth century, the Pulteney family initiated its policy of rebuilding its Soho lands.” This street was built in 1726, six years after the estate’s showpiece, Great Pulteney Street.




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