Joshua Lane, NW5

Place Name

This was an unnamed back alley until July 2012. Joshua Prole Torriano (1755 – 1824), of Ruxley Place, Thames Ditton, was an 18thCentury landowner who inherited large swathes of Kentish Town in 1793. His mother Elizabeth Torriano was one of the grand-daughters of John Cox who owned the land and past it down to his descendants. Joshua laid out Leighton Road (formerly Gloucester Place), Leighton Grove, and Torriano Avenue, selling the adjoining land in building plots. When Joshua died the landholdings were passed to his sister Honoria and then to Dame Isabella Leighton of Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire. Torriano infant and junior schools are named after him. Local historian Gillian Tindall, said: “Torriano sounds exotic but in fact he was a perfectly respectable owner of a soap factory who owned a lot of land in the Kentish Town area. He gradually disposed of the land or developed it but the name Torriano has remained in the area because of him.” Sergeant Paul Ryan, of Kentish Town Safer Neighbourhoods team, told the Camden New Journal that the new name was a way of tackling a long-term problem of police, fire and ambulance services driving around in circles. He said: “There used to be a problem with burglary in the area around the new Joshua Lane but when people rang police or ambulance they often couldn’t find it because it wasn’t on maps. It became a bit of a chronic problem and we wanted to do something to change that and help keep people safer.” Adding: “Also, to think we had some small part in changing a little piece of London’s history is heartening.”

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