Matilda Street, N1

Place name

This was originally Matilda Place when it first appeared in December 1845 but by 1847 it took its present name. In 1937 it was extended to include the former Richmond Street that ran from Richmond Road to Thornhill Square. It was named after Charlotte Matilda Greene, daughter of the Reverend Charles Greene, of Offord D’Arcy, wife of landowner George Thornhill. The pair married on June 22, 1809. Thornhill was a landowner, lawyer and Conservative Member of Parliament who first proposed developing the fields around Islington for housing. He was the only son of another George Thornhill, of Diddington Hall, Huntingdonshire, (since demolished). The family owned vast tracts of land in Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire as well as in Islington. In 1808 George Thornhill senior proposed developing the family’s fields which had been previously used for dairy cattle. But was thwarted in his plans after a disagreement with a neighbouring landowner and negotiations with other developments, including the future Caledonian Road and Regents Canal, no buildings were completed. Work eventually got underway in 1813 when he appointed Joseph Kay as surveyor, who had perviously developed the Foundling Estate in Bloomsbury. When his father died in 1827, George junior continued the work choosing street names after family connections. Thornhill Square was begun sometime around 1847 with a Mr GSS Williams building 33 houses on the west, the central gardens having railings dating from about 1852. Thornhill Crescent was begun by Samuel Pocock in 1849. In 1836 Thornhill became High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire and the following year he was elected to Parliament for the Huntingdonshire constituency, holding the seat until his death.

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