Until it was renamed in 1891 by the East End Dwellings Company this was Wood Street. Founded in 1884 by the clergyman and social reformer Samuel Barnett to provide housing for the poor, the company purchased a group of slum properties on the north side of Cromer Street. Four parallel streets intersected the dwellings, namely modern Midhope Street, Whidborne Street, Tankerton Street and Loxham Street. Why Midhope was chosen is unclear though Gillian Bebbington in London Street Names suggests it could, along with the others, be the name of a company director (though there have been more recent suggestions for Whidborne Street and Tankerton Street). Before its development from around 1801 the area was fields belonging to tin-plate worker Joseph Lucas, who held a seven-acre plot between Gray’s Inn Road and the ancient Boot pub, which still exists, on the corner of Judd Street and Cromer Street. This street was laid out in the 1810s. By the time Barnett purchased it less than a hundred years later it had become a slum.
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