Lloyd Baker Street, WC1X

Place Name

Originally Lower Baker Street when it was laid out in 1826 on fields owned by the Lloyd Baker family. The Lloyd family were extensive landowners around Clerkenwell, having acquired large tracts of land called, in Tudor times, the Commandery Mantells following the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540. The property which had originally belonged to the priory of St John in Clerkenwell was seized by the Crown, and later granted to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, who in turn sold 80 acres of it to a London grocer called Nicholas Backhouse. From there it passed down the family line, with some sold off to the New River Company to build a reservoir in the early 17thCentury. In turn this was passed to Dr William Lloyd, Chancellor of the diocese of Worcester. When he died in 1719 it was inherited by his son, the Reverend John Lloyd, rector of Ryton near Gateshead, County Durham. By 1744 he had sold or leased much of the land to the New River Company keeping a few fields for the family. These in turn were inherited by John Lloyd’s eldest daughter, Katherine. After her death they passed to her surviving sister, Mary, who in the late 1770s married their cousin, the Rev William Baker, who added Lloyd to his name. William later started the development of the land, called Black Mary’s and Robin Hood’s Fields. But he died with the work only half finished. Ownership of the Clerkenwell estate passed successively to his son, Thomas John Lloyd Baker (1777 – 1841), and grandson, Thomas Barwick Lloyd Baker. In 1937 the London County Council began reviewing the city’s street names as it sought to reduce duplication and end a great deal ion confusion. Some of the changes however were met with dismay at the time by local residents and historians. And so it was the case with this street which was originally proposed should be called Riceyman Steps, after Arnold Bennett’s 1923 novel documenting impoverished Clerkenwell lives. In a letter to The Sunday Times published in November of that year, Miss E Jeffries Davis, a reader in London history at the University of London, described it as an “insult… against which, luckily the owners and inhabitants of one such estate effectively protested. Baker Street, in that area, obviously had to be sacrificed to the fame of Sherlock Holmes; but the substitution of Lloyd Baker, the full name of the landowning family, is one of the success of the new list.”

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Lloyd Baker Street, WC1X”

  1. My family lived on the Lloyd Baker Estate in neighbouring Wharton Street. As a child in the 60’s I remember Miss Lloyd Baker calling on her tenants to say hello and to find out the state of the house and were there any issues such as outstanding repairs. I also remember visiting the Estate Office at the top of Lloyd Baker Street to pay the monthly rent. It had a fine painting of St Pancras Station from the heights of Pentonville Road. When Miss Lloyd Baker died (late 70’s/early 80’s?), the Estate was quickly sold off to Islington Council.

    Thanks for the history of the Lloyd Bakers. Very interesting.

    1. Thank you very much Vic. It’s remarkable to think that these people were still alive within living memory – and that they would have had such a close involvement in the day-to-day of the estate. Bet that doesn’t happen now.

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