Robert Adam Street, W1U

Place Name

Although named after Robert Adam (July 3, 1728 – March 3, 1792), the 18thCentury architect behind some of the UK’s most admired buildings including The Adelphi, Osterley House, Bute House, Newby Hall, and Luton Hoo among many others, it was a controversial choice for a street name. It was originally plain Adam Street, and named in 1780 after Samuel Adams a local builder behind many of the local streets. However, in 1937 the London County Council began its review of the city’s street names with the aim of reducing duplication and making it easier for Royal Mail and the emergency services. This was one such street whose replacement choice annoyed historians. Writing to the Sunday Times in 1937 Sir Allen Mawer, director of the Survey of British Place Names accused the London County Council of creating “false history or pseudo-history”. In a letter to the same paper Lawrence Tanner Keeper of the Muniments at Westminster Abbey said: “No one who knew anything about Marylebone would have allowed Adam Street — so called, as I am told, after a family called Adams (though it has lost the ” s ” in course of time) — to become Robert Adam Street, after the architect.” In an editorial the newspaper was unequivocal: “To convert Adam Street, to Robert Adam Street, when Robert Adam was not its architect and had nothing to do with its neighbourhood, is really unpardonable. ”

 

 

 

 

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